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Heller, Jon (2007) 'Retreat from Nuremberg: The Leadership Requirement in the Crime of Aggression.' European Journal of International Law, 18 (3). pp. 477-497.

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The International Criminal Court's Special Working Group on the Crime of Aggression (SWG) is currently considering two different proposals for a definition of the crime. Although different in many respects, both proposals agree that aggression is a ‘leadership’ crime that can be committed only by ‘persons who are in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State’. According to the SWG, the ‘control or direct’ standard is consistent with – and required by – the jurisprudence of the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg Military Tribunal, and International Military Tribunal for the Far East. In fact, that jurisprudence tells a different story. These three tribunals not only assumed that the crime of aggression could be committed by two categories of individuals who could never satisfy the ‘control or direct’ requirement – private economic actors such as industrialists, and political or military officials in a state who are complicit in another state's act of aggression – they specifically rejected the ‘control or direct’ requirement in favour of a much less restrictive ‘shape or influence’ standard. The SWG's decision to adopt the ‘control or direct’ requirement thus represents a significant retreat from the Nuremberg principles, not their codification.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
ISSN: 09385428
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2017 17:25

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