The Jelisic Case and the Mens Rea of the crime of genocide

Schabas, William A. ORCID logoORCID: (2001) The Jelisic Case and the Mens Rea of the crime of genocide. Leiden Journal of International Law, 14 (1) . pp. 125-139. ISSN 0922-1565 [Article] (doi:10.1017/S0922156501000061)


The December 1999 judgment of the ICTY in the Jelisic case is the first ruling on the merits from that court dealing with an indictment for genocide. The Trial Chamber concluded that the Prosecutor had failed to prove that genocide was committed and that consequently the accused could not be convicted as an accomplice to the crime. It went on to examine whether despite the absence of genocide on any widespread or systematic basis it was still possible for an individual, driven by genocidal intent, to commit one of the underlying crimes such as killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm. The Trial Chamber considered this a plausible hypothesis but ruled that this did not correspond to the facts of the case. Since the Jelisic ruling, the Preparatory Commission of the International Criminal Court has attempted to eliminate the lone génocidaire scenario in the Elements of Crimes. While the law remains unsettled, awaiting clarification from the Appeals Chamber, a wise prosecutorial policy would be to reserve international genocide prosecutions for serious cases involving organized and widespread crimes. Exaggerated attention to individual and isolated cases is a questionable use of valuable resources and risks diluting some of the terrible stigma now attached to the “crime of crimes.”

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 7712
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Devika Mohan
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2011 06:55
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 12:20

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.