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Failure to Act in Times of Pandemic: Is There a Role for the International Criminal Law Doctrine of Superior Responsibility?

Kotzamani, Panagiota (2020) 'Failure to Act in Times of Pandemic: Is There a Role for the International Criminal Law Doctrine of Superior Responsibility?' In: Ferstman, Carla and Fagan, Andrew, (eds.) Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. University of Essex, 311 - 320. ISBN 978-1-5272-6632-2

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This article explores the responsibility of military or civilian superiors in international criminal law for their failure to act in relation to a potentially lethal virus epidemic or pandemic. In this direction, two different angles of the issue are discussed. The first focuses on the responsibility of individuals in positions of power for their failure to prevent the spread of the virus or provide adequate health support to an epidemic or pandemic affected population, when this population is used as a target group for the commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes or even genocide. The second refers to the responsibility of these superiors for their failure to prevent their subordinates to use such an epidemic or pandemic as a mean to commit crimes against humanity or war crimes. It is argued that, in order for superior responsibility to be attributed in these circumstances, a careful consideration on the theory of omission and the nature of superior responsibility is required.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: International criminal law, civilian and military superiors, commission by omission, deliberate failure to exercise control, due diligence
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 12:53
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 14:15

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