Mistake of Law pp 101-132 | Cite as

Applying the Theory of Mistake of Law: An Analysis of (Inter)national Case Law

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter is dedicated to an analysis of selected case law concerning defendants who pleaded mistake of law before national and international courts in cases concerning international crimes. The main focus is on proceedings that followed the Second World War. It covers other criminal proceedings in the decades thereafter as well, such as some cases related to the wars in Korea and Vietnam and a few more recent cases before the ICTY, the SCSL and the ICC. In most cases, where the defence of mistake of law has been raised in order to avert criminal liability for international crimes, knowledge of wrongdoing was inferred from the facts; the defendant must have known about the wrongfulness of his acts, the superior orders were manifestly unlawful. In exceptional cases, the defence was successful because the legal rule concerned was uncertain. The selected case law shows only a few examples of cases where mistake of law is invoked as a defence on itself.

Keywords

International Criminal Court Appeal Chamber Rome Statute International Crime Trial Chamber 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© T.M.C. ASSER PRESS, The Hague, The Netherlands, and the author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Criminal Law DepartmentUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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