Bert Rling as a Criminal Law Scholar
Author: Kelk, Constantijn
Source: Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 8, Number 4, 23 September 2010 , pp. 1093-1108(16)
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Abstract:The author surveys the contribution of Bert Rling to Dutch criminal law and to criminal theory. After illustrating the status of Dutch criminal jurisprudence at the time Rling initiated his academic career, he dwells on Rlings PhD dissertation on Long Term Detention of Habitual Offenders as well as his subsequent lecture on the Role of Education in Criminal Law and emphasizes their originality. Rling took a functionalist approach to criminal law and criminology. He referred to incarceration as one of the fallacies of the past and felt it was time to realize that it was only in very rare cases that any good could be done to people by incarcerating them. The author then highlights Rlings contribution of 19541957 to the notion of functional perpetratorship, which enables the attribution of criminal responsibility to chief executives on the grounds of their function in the performing of real acts by those who were in charge. Rling developed this concept from the famous Wire case, where the Dutch Court of cassation had convicted in 1954 the owner of an export company because his manager had deliberately filled in erroneous information on forms concerning the export of wire. Rlings concept was clearly akin to the notion of Tatherrschaft subsequently developed in 1963 by C. Roxin and referring to the responsibility of a person who, unlike other participants in the crime such as accessories, wants to be in charge of the criminal act (dominus causae). The author then surveys Rlings contribution to the Tokyo Tribunal and to the case law of the Dutch Special Court of cassation dealing with war crimes.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2010-09-23
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