Responsibility of Political Parties for Crimes in Armed Conflicts: Regulatory Challenges and Solutions

Lunchtime Seminar

Date: Wednesday 26 September
Time: 1:00 – 2:00pm
Where: Room 920, Level 9, Melbourne Law School
This event is open to the public.

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Assistant Professor Aleksandar Marsavelski, Zagreb University

Some of the worst atrocities known in human history are attributable to political parties: from the Armenian genocide committed under the leadership of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) to Rwandan genocide orchestrated by the Coalition for the Defence of the Republic (CDR). At the same time, the political processes of most countries today are dominated by one or more political parties. Regardless of the type of government in which they operate, political parties have the formal duty to conform their activities with the law, while their material duty is to act for the citizen’s welfare. But can they conform with these duties in armed conflicts? What are the consequences if they fail to do so? Could a political party regulatory scheme be used to prevent armed conflicts?

Answering these questions could improve governance because it is not only about regulating armed conflicts. It is about developing policies to regulate political parties in a responsive way to their unlawful activities and acts that are totally against citizen’s welfare. It includes regulation of political parties in peacetime to prevent crimes such as corruption and hate speech because widespread corruption and hate speech in times of economic turmoils are capable of cascading into atrocious armed conflicts. By allowing criminal liability of political parties, including party bans in exceptional cases, according to responsive regulation theory, all other regulatory instruments will become more effective. This seminar will present different models and levels of liability of political parties in response to their crimes in wartime.