Joint Criminal Enterprise and Command Responsibility

Posted: 18 Jun 2008

See all articles by Kai Ambos

Kai Ambos

University of Goettingen (Gottingen)

Date Written: March 2007


The joint criminal enterprise doctrine appears more and more as the magic weapon in the prosecution of international crimes. Yet, the doctrine not only gives rise to conceptual confusion and conflicts with some fundamental principles of (international) criminal law but also invades the traditional ambit of command responsibility liability. This becomes obvious if both doctrines are applied simultaneously in cases against accused with some kind of superior position. After a short introduction on both doctrines, as interpreted in modern case law, the article gives some examples of their simultaneous application and tries to develop distinguishing criteria in light of the case law and a dogmatic analysis of both the doctrines. A reference to the theory of Organisationsherrschaft shows that there is yet another option to impute international crimes to top perpetrators.

Suggested Citation

Ambos, Kai, Joint Criminal Enterprise and Command Responsibility (March 2007). Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 5, Issue 1, pp. 159-183, 2007. Available at SSRN: or

Kai Ambos (Contact Author)

University of Goettingen (Gottingen) ( email )

Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5
Göttingen, 37073

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics