Internationalisation and Attribution: The Tadic Analysis in the Genocide in Bosnia Case

65 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2013

See all articles by Valentina Azarova

Valentina Azarova

Manchester International Law Centre (MILC), Manchester University Law School

Date Written: 2009


The rules of attribution under the International Law of State Responsibility have been undergoing substantial developments in the past few decades. The direction of these developments has contributed to an abandoning of its core objectives -- those which strive to extend accountability beyond its traditional frontiers. This trend is discussed in this work by being associated with the contemporary string of jurisprudential debates on the questions of agency and control, most topically reflected by the ICJ in Genocide in Bosnia that has declared the ICTY’s Tadic test for internationalisation of conflicts as insufficient to establish State responsibility. This assertion is hereby discussed and contextualized in light of the many facets of the law of State responsibility, and the problematic of the enforceability of international law due to its Westphalian structures.

A leading question in this work is whether the present application of the rules of attribution is consistent with the objectives inbred by its foundational doctrines. It proceeds to observe whether the typology of the present applications of the rules, and the approaches espoused by international courts and tribunals are successful in addressing the growing ubiquity of extra-statal activities that challenges the utility and functionality of the present mechanisms of international humanitarian law. International legal sources and rules, primary and secondary, are fragmented and reclassified as they are applied to factual situations to which they seek to give adequate expression. It is this difference between will-based and justice-based understanding that challenges the legal legitimacy of the perceived restructuring of the law of State responsibility by the ICJ in Genocide in Bosnia. This judgment calls unremittingly for a review of the legal framework of the rules and confirms the need to harmonise its interpretative applications.

Keywords: public international law, state responsibility, rules of attribution, armed non-state groups

Suggested Citation

Azarova, Valentina, Internationalisation and Attribution: The Tadic Analysis in the Genocide in Bosnia Case (2009). U. of Westminster School of Law Research Paper No. 09-11, Available at SSRN: or

Valentina Azarova (Contact Author)

Manchester International Law Centre (MILC), Manchester University Law School ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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