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Kevin Riordan on Command Responsibility
14 Feb 2012 -  Mr. Kevin Riordan, Director General, Defence Legal Services, New Zealand Defence Force

"Command Responsibility"
An army is dominated by its officers. Small wonder then that commanders should bear particular responsibility for the offences committed by their subordinates. Since it first crystalised in the Yamashita trial, however, the concept of command responsibility has entailed some degree of controversy. When the idea of attributing responsibility was extended to superiors such as mayors and civilian officials the efficacy of the doctrine grew, but so too did criticism of its scope. This lecture will examine the philosophical basis for the doctrine and also looks at some of the more instructive cases relating to its application.