Article Title

A Cautionary Tale


It is imperative when talking about accountability and the enforcement of internationally recognized and accepted criminal norms governing conflict, when talking about investigating and prosecuting atrocity crime, not to raise expectations that have little or no chance of being met. Expanding the modes of liability to reach bystanders has the potential to raise such expectations, pushing the range of subjects that victims, survivors and others with an interest in the outcome of atrocity crime investigations and prosecutions expect will be prosecuted out beyond those as to whom there is likely to be political will to prosecute and certainly beyond the capacity and resources likely to be available to prosecute them. Inevitably, confidence in the process for holding people accountable for atrocity will be corroded and the legitimacy of the outcomes achieved by the process will be compromised. Holding out the prospect that too much can be done is likely to be the enemy of being able to do enough.