The Oric Case may be coined as a ‘symbolic sentence’, rendered by International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The term ‘symbolic’ depicts the accompanied significance, ranging even beyond its immediate legal consequences. To a certain extent, it marked the underpinnings of efforts undertaken by the International Courts to establish an effective International Criminal Justice system, especially regarding War Crimes and Humanitarian Law violations. It may be construed as one of the first verdicts penned by a Hague-based Court that attracted substantial attention from the media as well as Judicial Establishments of countries, signatory to the Geneva Conventions and other International Treaties relating to War Crimes or Humanitarian Law. This case was instrumental in defining International Criminal Justice as a fundamental element of the international legal order, and more significantly, marked judicial efforts towards bringing war criminals and persecutors to justice. Its relevance is further highlighted under the International Law Jurisdiction as it manifested a precedent for ensuing proceedings of similar nature, surmounted by assertion of the Statute’s application to Armed Conflicts unrecognized by the International Community.
The world, today, witnesses the bearings of this decision, in eventual blossoms of certain guidelines (or standards) with respect to precise identification of alleged perpetrators in a definite manner, i.e., the decision is a clear articulation of preconditions for any future trial judgments involving commanders accused under Article 7(3) of ICTY Statute.
The present comments are authored to concentrate on this watershed case, especially to examine the controversial application of an additional mode of individual responsibility under Additional Protocol I, that led to prevention of failure to punish violations by subordinates as per Article 86(2)(e). The intent here is to provide a crucial yardstick to gauge whether the aforementioned doctrine could be fruitfully applied to ‘individual responsibility’ in general, under IHL.