Question XIII, Political Law, 2017 Bar Exam

Command responsibility pertains to the responsibility of commanders for crimes committed by subordinate members of the armed forces or other persons subject to their control in international wars or domestic conflicts. The doctrine has now found application in civil actions for human rights abuses, and in proceedings seeking the privilege of the writ of amparo.

(a) What are the elements to be established in order to hold the superior or commander liable under the doctrine of command responsibility? (4%)

(b) May the doctrine of command responsibility apply to the President for the abuses of the armed forces (AFP and PNP) given his unique role as the commander-in-chief of all the armed forces? Explain your answer. (4%)

Suggested Answer:

(a) The following are the elements:

1) The superior either knew, or consciously disregarded information which clearly indicated, that the subordinates were committing or about to commit such crimes;

2) The crimes concerned activities that were within the effective responsibility and control of the superior; and,

3) The superior failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecution. (Article 28, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court)

(b) Yes. Under jurisprudence, the commander-in-chief of the military may be held responsible or accountable for extrajudicial killing...

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