Law Quadrangle (formerly Law Quad Notes)

Article Title

Crimes of State


None of the Draft Articles on State Responsibility adopted by the International Law Commission has provoked as much controversy as Article 19 on Crimes of State. Yet, strangely enough, even if the issues themselves have received exhaustive treatment, the debate about the issues, the debate which divides proposers of, and opposers to, the adoption of the new category of State Responsibility, has remained largely unexplored.

It is this second dimension which will be the focal point of these brief remarks - concluding the Florence Conference on State Responsibility and Crimes of State. What interests me here, therefore, as distinct from most other contributions to the ongoing discussion, is not the notion of Crimes of State in itself but rather the international law Weltanschauung of those, states and particularly scholars, debating the concept. Why is it that some scholars and some states espouse, even enthusiastically, the concept whereas others reject it, at times as anathema?