Locating moral responsibility for war crimes : the new justiciability of 'system criminality' and its implications for the development of an international polity
This thesis examines the question of international responses to system criminality. It argues that the assignation of moral responsibility, expressed in the act of prosecuting individuals, expresses a fundamental conceptual shift towards an international polity. Although political rhetoric, the media and international legislation express the moral dimension of system criminality, the character of humanitarian law and the contingency of its operation is the most concrete indicator of such a development. The status of an embryonic international polity becomes particularly evident- with 'individual responsibility' being a criminally liable offence, as set against 'collective responsibility' which entails 'civil', (non-penal) liabilities. However, the principle of individual criminal responsibility, and therefore the expression of a nascent international polity, is by no means as well developed as it may appear because the moral consensus necessary to fully support this shift is still undeveloped. A thoroughly radical re-orientation to a potential international polity had not fully arrived with the Nuremberg Principles and a paucity of individual prosecutions for system crimes indicates the limits of this development. Nevertheless, the contribution to knowledge of this thesis lies in its finding that with the radical developments of criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court there has been a qualitative shift in the structure of international legal norms.