History Of Individual Responsibility

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Individual Responsibility is that all humans are the cause of their own actions; they provoke and decide to exhibit behaviour and therefore should be held morally accountable for these actions. There has been forms of responsibility for individuals and their behaviour for over a century, whereas there have only been statements regarding conduct of international organizations since the 1980’s. In International Law, the main criminal responsibility for individuals is dealt with by the International Criminal Court. In 1998, the Rome Statute was established by the ICC and the treaty came into force in 2002, with 124 states having ratified the treaty. (Lecture, Clarke) It established that there are four core international crimes that shall not be …show more content…
(Lecture, Clarke) The Tribunal was established through the London Agreement of August 8th, 1945 between the four victorious Allied Powers in World War Two: France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was a Tribunal that convened between November 20th, 1945 and October 1st, 1946 during which time, 22 Nazi Defendants were tried; it had originally been 24 but two lost their lives to suicide. The end result for each of the individuals being tried was that 11 were given the death penalty, 8 were sentenced to very long prison terms, and 3 were acquitted. The most important thing about the Nuremberg Tribunal and Individual responsibility in what came about after it was complete. There were a set of Principles created by the General Assembly of the United Nations and are still used strongly. (Nuremburg Principles and Individual Responsibility) In Principle VI it states that: “The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under international law: a. Crimes against peace; b. war crimes; c. crimes against humanity.” This was clearly the basis of the Rome Statute created later on. The most important is principle IV: stating that “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him of responsibility under international law, …show more content…
There are obviously both benefits and drawbacks to individual responsibility. First of all, trying individuals for international armed conflicts will suggest less armed conflict for those following them in the future. As citizens watch their leaders burn, the theory is that they will become less likely to do crimes as such later on. On the contrary, although states cannot act without the actions of individuals and that is why individuals are tried, many cases are only able to occur because they take place in state where there is a previously institutionalized system of fear. For example, Hitler’s orders would have had no weight had he not had people to carry them out, but he had many followers who were completely faithful to him. Another issue is that because there is not a basis of rules laid out, therefore what is the legal punishment for these crimes but Tribunals are the benefit of this issue as it is a joint way of dealing with those who have perpetrated severe crimes against humanity. (Customary IHL – Rule

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