Aiding and Abetting and Causation in the Commission of International Crimes – The Cases of Dutch Businessmen Van Anraat and Kouwenhoven
International Criminal Responsibility of War’s Funders and Profiteers edited by Nina H.B. Jorgensen (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming)
Amsterdam Center for International Law No. 2019-14
26 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2019 Last revised: 2 Dec 2019
Date Written: March 29, 2019
An increasing amount of attention is being paid to the roles of companies and businessmen assisting in the commission of international crimes, for example through the delivery of weapons. The mode of criminal liability that corresponds to unlawful assistance in the commission of crimes is generally referred to as aiding and abetting. It requires an act of assistance that has contributed to the commission of the crime (actus reus) and that the suspect has done so with the requisite degree of intent or knowledge (mens rea).
The present paper will focus on the actus reus, to be more specific: the standard of causation, in the context of companies and businessmen who contribute to mass atrocities. It will do so through the lens of two well-known Dutch cases, concerning two businessmen, Mr. Van Anraat and Mr. Kouwenhoven, who have delivered weapons in situations of armed conflict and mass atrocities (Iraq in the 1980s and Liberia in the 1990s). While both men have been convicted for aiding and abetting in war crimes, the requisite standard of contribution appears to differ considerably between the two cases. This chapter addresses the question as to what should the degree of causation be for aiding and abetting-liability of companies and businessmen who have assisted in the commission of mass atrocities.
This question will be answered in the context of aiding and abetting in Dutch domestic criminal law and international criminal law.
Note: This material has been published in revised form in International Criminal Responsibility of War’s Funders and Profiteers edited by Nina H.B. Jorgensen (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming). This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution or re-use. © (Göran Sluiter and Sean Yau)
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation