Liberal Legal Norms Meet Collective Criminality
18 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2014
Date Written: February 8, 2011
One of the key challenges for mass crimes proceedings is to reconcile the inherently collective nature of large-scale atrocities with liberal due process norms that mandate a focus on individual culpability. Trials typically concentrate on a select number of accused persons, which to some extent obscures the truth about how repressive states or organizations functioned in practice. The role of functionaries and bystanders, who are often spared prosecution or granted formal amnesty, is often largely overlooked. This article reviews the book "Making Sense of Mass Atrocity" by Mark Osiel, discusses the tensions inherent in conducting individual trials for systemic abuses, and examines and critiques Osiel's proposals for ways to reconcile those tensions in international legal doctrine and practice.
Keywords: International criminal law, atrocities, amnesty, prosecution
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation