Reaching the ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ Standard in International Criminal Law Cases: A Comparison with Italian Doctrine and Jurisprudence

12 Pages Posted: 6 Mar 2019

Date Written: January 9, 2019

Abstract

The standard of proof in international criminal law is “beyond reasonable doubt”. This principle, in connection with the presumption of innocence, is required to confirm a criminal conviction. Although this rule is widely used in common law countries and even in some civil law countries, it is impossible to find a unanimous definition due to an intense debate over its significance in both legal doctrines and international jurisprudence. Moreover, in the context of international criminal law there are no rules about the best method to evaluate evidence in order to satisfy the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”.

The purpose of this essay is to analyze the international Courts’ practice in order to understand when, why and with what method the accused can be acquitted or convicted “beyond reasonable doubt”.

Firstly, a brief overview of the origins of this standard will be illustrated. Secondly, the importance of this standard even in civil law countries, in this case Italy, through an overview of Italian doctrine and jurisprudence will be discussed. Finally, some important decisions by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) will be analyzed.

Keywords: beyond reasonable doubt, reasonable, doubt, standard of proof, international law, ICTY, ICTR, ICC

JEL Classification: K14, K33, K40

Suggested Citation

Seclì, Chiara, Reaching the ‘Beyond Reasonable Doubt’ Standard in International Criminal Law Cases: A Comparison with Italian Doctrine and Jurisprudence (January 9, 2019). Faculty of Law, Stockholm University Research Paper No. 67 (2019), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3335515 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3335515

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