Superior Responsibility in Estonian Criminal Law and its Compliance with International Law
Keywords:international criminal law, superior responsibility, Estonian Penal Code, general part
If a domestic criminal-law system is to be equipped to operate in conformity with the underlying idea of complementarity that is among the International Criminal Court’s underpinnings, it is vital that, amongst other aspects of general principles of responsibility, the superior responsibility doctrine be transposed into domestic law properly. Accordingly, the paper deconstructs Art. 88 (1) of the Estonian Penal Code, which stipulates the superior responsibility concept in the Estonian legal system, for the purpose of assessing whether it exhibits compliance with customary international law on superior responsibility or Art. 28 of the Rome Statute. The analysis presented reveals considerable differences between the Estonian regulatory scheme and relevant international norms: it appears that there are several respects in which Estonian regulation does not meet the international standard and, hence, large lacunae are to be found in Estonian law on superior responsibility. For this reason, the article concludes with a recommendation that Estonian regulation of superior responsibility be complemented in such a way that it is rendered consistent with international law – specifically, with the requirements of Art. 28 of the Rome Statute – while simultaneously taking into consideration the demands stemming from Estonian criminal-law dogmatics, especially the guilt principle.