For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!

Prof. Gregory Gordon will present a paper which considers whether 'incitement to aggression' may be a viable crime.

Event details of The Viability of Including Incitement to Aggression in the Catalogue of International Crimes (ACIL Lecture)
Date 20 May 2016
Time 16:00 -17:30


‘Incitement to aggression’ may be a viable crime but with certain limitations. In relation to incitement, aggression-related discourse can theoretically be bifurcated between what the paper refers to as ‘war-council’ speech and ‘war-mongering’ speech. With respect to ‘war-council’ aggression speech, as it deals with communications among the leadership corps, the utility of any corollary incitement provision is questionable. Those who would act, the controllers of the government/military apparatus, need no exhorting as they monopolize agency. Moreover, unlike the other core crimes, any theoretical ‘inciting’ speech connected to war-council aggression conduct does not as directly entail dehumanization or marginalization of an out-group being targeted for violence or inhumane treatment. But ‘war-mongering’ aggression-related discourse is quite different. It implicates government leaders conditioning their citizens to support illegal war campaigns. In cases of controversial war campaigns, it is sometimes needed to assure sufficient troop morale and civilian cooperation. Further, empirically it entails speech dehumanizing the enemy population. And it has historically been recognized as an offence. So criminalizing it via incitement makes more sense and, indeed, fills important gaps within the aggression offence’s definitional and operational framework.

About the speaker

Professor Gregory Gordon is Associate Dean (Development/ External Affairs) and Director of the Research Postgraduates Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law. He has worked at several international war crimes tribunals and is one of the world’s foremost authorities on international hate speech law.


Faculty of Law, University of Amsterdam

Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, Room A101


The ACIL regularly organizes ACIL Lectures at which external speakers present papers relevant to research carried out at the ACIL. ACIL Lectures are open to all; registration is not required.