Elements of Crimes
Elements of Crimes is a legal document that supplements the Rome Statute. It defines the elements of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in more detail. While the mental elements (intent and knowledge) are established from the facts and circumstances, the material elements can be defined more generally. The Elements of Crimes document lists for every crime the material elements.
The Latin expression “erga omnes” in international law refers to obligations that states have towards the international community. Their breach would concern the international community as a whole and therefore can be complained of by any state. Examples for erga omnes obligations include the prevention of genocide and slavery. However, since erga omnes norms concern states and not individuals they can be enforced by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), not by the ICC.
Error of fact
An error of fact exists when the Court makes a mistake in interpreting and analysing the facts – for instance if it considers a child to be 15 years of age while in reality it was 14 years old.
Error of law
An error of law exists when the Court makes a mistake in interpreting the law – for instance if judges consider the age of 16 years the threshold for child soldiers while in fact the law says the threshold is the age of 15 years.
The “essential contribution” requirement is an element to determine whether a person can be held liable as a perpetrator, coperpetrator or under a lower form of liability. In general, a contribution or role is essential when the crime would not be committed without it – thus, if the person’s contribution is essentially necessary for the crime to be committed.