The use of Excessive Force in Riot Control: Law Enforcement and Crimes against Humanity under the Rome Statute

Prof Doc Thesis

Namwase, Sylvie 2017. The use of Excessive Force in Riot Control: Law Enforcement and Crimes against Humanity under the Rome Statute. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London Business and Law
AuthorsNamwase, Sylvie
TypeProf Doc Thesis

This thesis explores state-sanctioned violence used as part of law enforcement in riot control with a view to determine whether the definition of crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute effectively criminalises the use of force by state actors in riot control contexts. It analyses tensions arising from criminalising the use of lethal force against a ‘civilian population’ under the Rome Statute, while recognising the responsibility of states to enforce law and order through force, including through lethal force. The study is qualitative and uses doctrinal analysis to identify definitional gaps and paradoxes within relevant laws. It uses positivist theory and the Hobbesian concept of sovereignty to illuminate how the fusion of power, law and violence perpetuate circularity around the standards regulating state use of force in riot control situations, and how this in turn hinders specificity of culpability under article 7 of the ICC Statute.
This study explores the effect of merging and applying without reflection, two prescriptive regimes; human rights and humanitarian law, within an international criminal law framework under the ICC Statute which is proscriptive and punitive. It also analyses definitional circularity under relevant national laws which are viable interpretive sources under the Rome Statute. The study concludes that article 7 is ineffective as a basis for criminalising excessive force in riot control contexts. The legal frameworks regulating use of force in these contexts, and those regulating crimes against humanity still operate in isolation and states retain a high level of discretion over the definition of national of standards of lawful force. The study argues that state parties never intended the application of crimes against humanity under the Statute to riot control contexts and that the internationalization of criminal liability for force used in internal riot situations is premature.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
PrintJan 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited18 May 2017
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