Command Responsibility in Multinational Operations
Technical Report,13 Aug 2018,14 Jun 2019
US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States
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Under the principle of command responsibility, international courts can hold a commander responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates even though he did not directly take part in the commission of the crimes. However, some circumstances challenge the scope of this rule. One of these limitations proceeds from the increasing number of multinational operations and the lack of clarity in the application of the law when military forces act in coalitions. The different legal standards of states that contribute to multinational operations increase the difficulty of enforcing command responsibility by tribunals and international courts. The ambiguity of the existing rules combined with the lack of case law make it difficult to determine whether or not commanders of multinational operations can be held responsible for crimes committed by soldiers under their authority from other countries. Understanding the legal frameworks that apply in multinational operations is critical to fostering awareness in multinational commanders of their obligations regarding command responsibility and the steps they can take to avoid human rights violations and war crimes by the military forces under their command.
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