Elucidating the Dolus Specialis: An Analysis of ICTY Jurisprudence on Genocidal Intent

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Abstract

What critically defines the crime of genocide is the dolus specialis, the special intent to destroy a protected group in whole or in part. The precise meaning of this intent to destroy, however, continues to be the subject of academic debate. This article seeks to contribute to this important debate by exploring whether the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has brought greater clarity to the meaning of genocidal intent. It does so by analysing the Tribunal’s jurisprudence with respect to three important issues: what constitutes evidence of genocidal intent; can knowledge as opposed to purpose suffice for genocidal intent; and what is the meaning of destroying a group in whole or ‘in part’? Divided into three core sections, the article explores the Tribunal’s jurisprudence with respect to each of these issues in turn, concluding that the ICTY’s judgements have helped to elucidate the ambiguities of genocidal intent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-531
JournalCriminal Law Forum
Volume26
Issue number3-4
Early online date16 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

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