Command Responsibility The Contemporary Law

The doctrine of “command responsibility” was established by the Hague Conventions IV (1907) and X (1907) and applied for the first time by the German Supreme Court in Leipzig after World War I, on the Trial of Emil Muller.  Miller was sentenced by the Court for failing to prevent the commission of crimes and to punish the perpetrators thereof.  Command responsibility is an omission mode of individual criminal liability: the superior is responsible for crimes committed by his subordinates and for failing to prevent or punish (as opposed to crimes he ordered). The doctrine was invoked by the International Military Tribunals after World War II and developed further through international and domestic jurisprudence: inter alia, the High Command, In Re Yamashita, Hostages and Abbaye Ardenne cases after World War II, and the Medina case dealing with war crimes in Vietnam.