Part III The Right to Justice, C Restrictions on Rules of Law Justified By Action to Combat Impunity, Principle 27 Restrictions on Justifications Related to Due Obedience, Superior Responsibility, and Official Status
Max du Plessis
Edited By: Frank Haldemann, Thomas Unger
- Human rights — Truth and Reconciliation Commissions
Principle 27 deals with restrictions on justifications related to the doctrines of due obedience, superior responsibility, and official status. The defence of due obedience (or superior orders) is premised on the notion that orders must be obeyed and that subordinates often have little or no discretion to refuse to abide by orders of their superiors. The doctrine of command responsibility (or superior criminal responsibility), a creation of international criminal law, states that superiors are criminally liable if they fail to prevent or punish the crimes committed by their subordinates. Under international law in respect to international crimes, immunities are divided into functional immunity (immunity ratione materiae) and personal immunity (immunity ratione personae). This chapter first provides a contextual and historical background on Principle 27 before discussing its theoretical framework and how the doctrines of due obedience, superior responsibility, and official status have been applied in practice.