Multivariate Analysis of War Crime Behaviour: Implications for the International Criminal Court
To prosecute perpetrators of war crimes the International Criminal Court (ICC) must connect the physical actions of the offence and ‘most responsible’ offenders charged with planning, instigating and intent on carrying out crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. To date there has been no empirical study of the types of physical actions that make up this offence. There is no baseline knowledge to contextualize the offence and enable the ICC to make links between the actions on the ground and a perpetrator’s culpability.\ud \ud The purpose of this study was to produce the first multivariate model of war crime ground action using cases of war crime offences in Cambodia and Rwanda. The aim was to first identify a representative range offence behaviours, and secondly determine if ground actions could be differentiated into distinct forms of offending that indicate culpability, that is, knowledge and intent in carrying out the crime. Lastly, offence behaviours assessed to determine if external factors could account for variances in offender behaviour, and help the ICC account for variances in behaviour when making inferences from the models. This was achieved through content analysis, cluster analysis, smallest space analysis and multivariate analysis of variance.\ud \ud It was found that as many as 44 different killing and disposal methods are used over the course of war crimes in Cambodia and Rwanda and that these offence actions can be classified into four distinct themes of behaviour. The indentified conservative, expressive, integrative and adaptive theme demonstrates that offenders were committing war crime offences in different ways. Using the underlying theories attached to each mode the ICC can infer the culpability of an offender based on which theme their actions fall into. In this case offenders subscribing to the conservative theme are likely to reflect the planning and instigation components of a war crime and offenders whose actions fall within the expressive theme are likely to be using war crimes as a cover for personal gratification and gain. Finally it was found that variances of behaviour can be attributed to the geographical location and timing of the event, and helps the ICC target their investigations to locations and periods linked to conservative behaviour, the offender who performs it and thus their culpability. \ud \ud This study shows that multivariate analysis can contextualize ground actions in manner that allows the ICC to make informed decisions of perpetrator culpability during war crimes.
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