The Liability of Heads of State for the Commission of International Crimes
Tsala Victor Yves Jean Denoël

Abstract
The liability of heads of state for the commission of international crimes is an important debate that has been animating the international scene in the domain of criminal justice for the last few years. Many Heads of State, either directly or indirectly are at the origin of acts which constitute serious violations to fundamental human rights. Despite this unfortunate situation, they are under the cover of immunities which protect them from criminal prosecutions. This study deals with two aspects of international law, the first is ‘immunities of Heads of State’ and the second is ‘prosecution of international crimes’. Liability of Heads of State is discussed in the context of international crimes. This work aims at investigating the extent to which immunity enjoyed by Heads of State constitute a hindrance to the engagement of their liability for the commission of international crimes. Using the dogmatic and casuistic research approaches, this work goes further to argue that these immunities constitute a stumbling block to establish the liability of Heads of State before foreign national jurisdictions but cannot hinder their liability for perpetration of international crimes before international jurisdictions. Using case law from various domestic and international jurisdictions, this work justifies that immunity ratione materiae is not a major problem in the law of international criminal responsibility. Rather, it is immunity rationepersonae enjoyed by incumbent Heads of State which is still a force to reckon with by both domestic and international criminal jurisdictions.

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