Can Soldiers Disobey Lawful Commands in Order to Prevent Crimes?

  • Jean-François Caron


While there is a clear obligation on the part of soldiers to disobey orders that would force them to commit illegal actions, this chapter argues that they also have the duty to disobey lawful orders that, if they were respected, would directly contribute to the perpetration of war crimes by a third party. Based on the examples of the 1994 and 1995 genocides in Rwanda and Srebrenica, it is argued that soldiers’ professional obligations to protect the lives of civilians create a positional duty on their part to refuse to obey these types of legal orders.


Responsibility to protect Srebrenica Rwanda Indirect responsibility 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International RelationsNazarbayev UniversityAstanaKazakhstan

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