The Enabler Theory and Atrocity Crimes

4.2 Cambridge Law Review 83 (2019)

22 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2020

See all articles by Dr. Shahram Dana

Dr. Shahram Dana

Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Date Written: 2019


International criminal law practitioners and scholars have observed that individuals convicted of atrocity crimes of the same gravity are sentenced to punishments of vastly different severity. This raises questions whether “gravity” is indeed the primary consideration and differential factor in determining the quantum of punishment for atrocity crimes. Is gravity of the offence operating as a meaningful differential principle in punishing atrocities? Is there an explanation that might reasonably justify substantially different sentences for persons convicted of crimes of similar gravity? Moreover, has the notion of “gravity” been overplayed as a differential criterion for the purpose of punishing atrocities? And, has this come at the expense of developing sentencing criteria *sui generis* to atrocity crimes? This article explores these questions and responds with an original theory and an innovative sentencing framework for international criminal justice.

Keywords: international law, criminal justice, atrocity, punishment, enablers, Charles Taylor, sentencing, international criminal justice

JEL Classification: K33, K14

Suggested Citation

Dana, Shahram, The Enabler Theory and Atrocity Crimes (2019). 4.2 Cambridge Law Review 83 (2019), Available at SSRN:

Shahram Dana (Contact Author)

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111

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