The defence of duress for international crimes and the expectation of heroism from ordinary citizens

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Kan, Gamaliel
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Raising the defence of duress for crimes against humanity and war crimes has always been contentious due to the tense relationship between law and morality. It poses serious philosophical, moral and legal challenges as it requires the judge to balance the accused life against the victims’. “How can a judge satisfy himself that the death of one person is the lesser evil that the death of another?” While the defence of duress is a well-established defence, substance of the defence under the Rome Statute is still rather elusive and ambiguous. This thesis aims to examine whether the current standard of duress under the Rome Statute reflects the realities of individuals experiencing duress. This thesis will analyse the criteria for a duress claim to succeed, the shortfalls of the current standard under the Rome Statute and balance the defendant’s justice with the wider goal of international criminal law.
Second semester University: Panteion University, Athens
crimes against humanity, war crimes, international criminal law, justice, ethics