Virtue Ethics, Criminal Responsibility, and Dominic Ongwen

International Criminal Law Review 19 (3) (2019)
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In this article, I contribute to the debate between two philosophical traditions—the Kantian and the Aristotelian—on the requirements of criminal responsibility and the grounds for excuse by taking this debate to a new context: international criminal law. After laying out broadly Kantian and Aristotelian conceptions of criminal responsibility, I defend a quasi-Aristotelian conception, which affords a central role to moral development, and especially to the development of moral perception, for international criminal law. I show than an implication of this view is that persons who are substantially and non-culpably limited in their capacity for ordinary moral perception warrant an excuse for engaging in unlawful conduct. I identify a particular set of conditions that trigger this excuse, and then I systematically examine it as applied to the controversial case of former-child-soldier-turned leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, Dominic Ongwen, who is currently at trial at the International Criminal Court.

Author Profiles

Renée Nicole Souris
Florida Institute of Technology
Renee Nicole Souris
Florida Institute of Technology


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