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Part 3 General Principles of Criminal Law: Principes Généraux Du Droit Pénal, Art.31 Grounds for excluding criminal responsibility/Motifs d’exonération de la responsabilité pénale

William A. Schabas

From: The International Criminal Court: A Commentary on the Rome Statute (2nd Edition)

William A Schabas

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 17 June 2024

Immunity from jurisdiction — Mens rea — International criminal law, conduct of proceedings — Evidence

This chapter comments on Article 31 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 31 describes what is known in most criminal justice systems by the terms ‘defences’, ‘excuses’, and ‘justifications’ for excluding criminal responsibility. It addresses several defences: insanity, intoxication, self-defence, duress, and necessity. It is followed by two other provisions, articles 32 and 33, defining specific defences. It is not apparent why articles 32 and 33 were not consolidated into the general provision, article 31. To the extent that they refute a charge, age (article 26), immunity (article 27), statutory limitation (article 29), and lack of mens rea (article 30) also operate as defences.

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