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“All Necessary and Reasonable Measures” – The Bemba Case and the Threshold for Command Responsibility

In: International Criminal Law Review
Authors:
Martha M. Bradley Research Associate, South African Research Chair in International Law, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; External Expert, Centre for International Humanitarian and Operational Law, affiliated to the Department of International and European Law at the Law Faculty, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic mmbradley@outlook.com; anieldebeer@outlook.com

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Aniel de Beer Research Associate, South African Research Chair in International Law, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; External Expert, Centre for International Humanitarian and Operational Law, affiliated to the Department of International and European Law at the Law Faculty, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic mmbradley@outlook.com; anieldebeer@outlook.com

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On 21 March 2016 Trial Chamber iii of the International Criminal Court unanimously convicted the former Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, on the basis of the doctrine of command responsibility for crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by troops under his command in the Central African Republic from 2002 to 2003. On 8 June 2018 however, the Appeals Chamber reversed the judgment and acquitted Bemba of all charges. The Appeals Chamber held that the Trial Chamber erred in finding that Bemba failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures to prevent and repress crimes committed by his subordinates as contemplated in Article 28(a)(ii) of the Rome Statute. This article evaluates the meaning of “all necessary and reasonable measures” in the context of command responsibility and considers whether Bemba met this threshold in order to avoid incurring criminal responsibility under Article 28(a)(ii).

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