Grave breaches

Not all violations of the laws of war are sanctioned in the same manner. The Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol I identify a limited set of violations – the grave breaches – which are particularly serious violations that give rise to specific obligations of repression for States. Grave breaches must be prosecuted by High Contracting Parties on the basis of the principle of universal jurisdiction. Together with other serious violations of IHL, grave breaches constitute war crimes.

See War CrimeIndividual Criminal Responsibility; Universal JurisdictionBreach, Violations; Genocide; Crimes Against Humanity; International Criminal Court; ICTY; ICTR; International criminal law; Individual criminal responsibility;

 OUTLINE

 LEGAL SOURCE

definition and lists of offences

    GCI, 50 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

    GCII, 51 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

    GCIII, 130

    GCIV, 147

    PI, 11/4

    PI, 85

universal jurisdiction

    GCI, 49 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

    GCII, 50 (see ICRC updated Commentary)

    GCIII, 129

    GCIV, 146

    PI, 85/1

 CASES

 BIBLIOGRAPHIC RESOURCES

Suggested reading:
 
FLECK Dieter, “Shortcomings of the Grave Breaches Regime”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 833-854.
 
ÖBERG Marko Divac, “The Absorption of Grave Breaches into War Crimes Law”, in IRRC, Vol. 91, No. 873, March 2009, pp. 163-183.
 
ROBERTS Ken, “The Contribution of the ICTY to the Grave Breaches Regime”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 743-762.
 
STEWART James G. (ed.), “The Grave Breaches Regime in the Geneva Conventions: a Reassessment Sixty Years On”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 653-877.
 
Further reading:
 
BOELART-SUOMINEN Sonja, “Grave Breaches, Universal Jurisdiction and Internal Armed Conflict: Is Customary Law Moving Towards a Uniform Enforcement Mechanism for all Armed Conflicts?”, in Journal of Conflict and Security Law, Vol. 5/1, 2000, pp. 63-103.
 
FERDINANDUSSE Ward, “The Prosecution of Grave Breaches in National Courts”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 723-741.
 
HENCKAERTS Jean-Marie, “The Grave Breaches Regime as Customary International Law”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 683-702.
 
KRESS Claus, “Reflections on the Judicare Limb of the Grave Breaches Regime”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 789-809.
 
MOIR Lindsay, “Grave Breaches and Internal Armed Conflicts”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 763-787.
 
O’KEEFE Roger, “The Grave Breaches Regime and Universal Jurisdiction”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 811-832.
 
ROBERTS Ken, “The Contribution of the ICTY to the Grave Breaches Regime”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 743-762.
 
SANDOZ Yves, “The History of the Grave Breaches Regime”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 657, 682.
 
STEWART James G., “The Future of the Grave Breaches Regime: Segregate, Assimilate or Abandon?”, in Journal of International Criminal Justice, Vol. 7, No. 4, September 2009, pp. 855-877.