Defenses to War Crimes: A Conceptual Overview

24 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2007

Date Written: Febraury 1, 2007


As international criminal law continues to grow in importance, defenses to charges of war crimes are taking on a generic standardization that covers prosecutions in national courts as well as in international tribunals. This paper briefly discusses the most important defenses and their theoretical interconnections. Substantive defenses include superior orders, command responsibility, tu quoque, military necessity, proportionality, and reprisals. Jurisdictional defenses applicable in national tribunals include personal jurisdiction, subject-matter jurisdiction, and double jeopardy.

Suggested Citation

D'Amato, Anthony, Defenses to War Crimes: A Conceptual Overview (Febraury 1, 2007). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 07-04. Available at SSRN: or

Anthony D'Amato (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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