Journal Article

German War Crimes and the Rule of International Law

Gianluigi Palombella

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 14, issue 3, pages 607-613
Published in print July 2016 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online January 2016 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqv070
German War Crimes and the Rule of International Law

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This article considers the opposite stances taken by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Italian Constitutional Court from the point of view of the international rule of law. On the one hand, the ICJ and the ECtHR relied on the existence of a customary rule of state immunity as hierarchically prevailing — either in the international legal order as a jus cogens rule or in state constitutions — over any commitments to human rights. On the other hand, the Constitutional Court considered the normative weight of the conflicting principles at stake. While acting as a gatekeeper of its constitutional order, the Court did not disregard normative imperatives stemming from international law and eventually stuck a balance between the two legal orders on a substantive and contextual basis. In so doing, it encouraged an innovative, coherent attitude towards a comprehensive view of international law as a whole, one that the ICJ was unable to consider.

Journal Article.  3155 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law ; International Criminal Law ; International Humanitarian Law ; Transnational Crime

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