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Criminal law is the body of
law Law is a set of rules that are created and are law enforcement, enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior,Robertson, ''Crimes against humanity'', 90. with its precise definition a matter of longstanding debate. ...
that relates to
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in C ...
. It prescribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to Consumables, consume, alte ...
,
health Health, according to the World Health Organization, is "a state of complete physical, Mental health, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".World Health Organization. (2006)''Constitution of the World H ...
,
safety Safety is the state of being "safe", the condition of being protected from harm or other danger. Safety can also refer to risk management, the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk. Meanings There are ...
, and moral welfare of people inclusive of one's self. Most criminal law is established by
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislature, legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city, State (polity), state, or country by way of consent. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare Public p ...
, which is to say that the laws are enacted by a
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
. Criminal law includes the
punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a parti ...
and rehabilitation of people who violate such laws. Criminal law varies according to
jurisdiction Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. Jur ...
, and differs from civil law, where emphasis is more on dispute resolution and victim compensation, rather than on
punishment Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a parti ...
or rehabilitation. Criminal procedure is a formalized official activity that authenticates the fact of commission of a crime and authorizes punitive or rehabilitative treatment of the offender.


History

The first civilizations generally did not distinguish between civil law and criminal law. The first written codes of law were designed by the
Sumer Sumer () is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia (south-central Iraq), emerging during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age, early Bronze Ages between the sixth and fifth millennium BC. It is one of ...
ians. Around 2100–2050 BC
Ur-Nammu Ur-Nammu (or Ur-Namma, Ur-Engur, Ur-Gur, Sumerian: , ruled c. 2112 BC – 2094 BC middle chronology The chronology of the ancient Near East is a chronology, framework of dates for various events, rulers and dynasties. Historical inscriptions ...
, the Neo-Sumerian king of Ur, enacted written legal code whose text has been discovered: the '' Code of Ur-Nammu'' although an earlier code of Urukagina of
Lagash Lagash (cuneiform: LAGAŠKI; Sumerian language, Sumerian: ''Lagaš''), was an ancient city state located northwest of the junction of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers and east of Uruk, about east of the modern town of Ash Shatrah, Iraq. Lagash ...
( 2380–2360 BC ) is also known to have existed. Another important early code was the
Code of Hammurabi The Code of Hammurabi is a Babylonian legal text composed 1755–1750 BC. It is the longest, best-organised, and best-preserved legal text from the ancient Near East. It is written in the Old Babylonian dialect of Akkadian language, Akkadian, p ...
, which formed the core of
Babylonian law Babylonian law is a subset of cuneiform law that has received particular study due to the large amount of archaeological material that has been found for it. So-called "contracts" exist in the thousands, including a great variety of deeds, Conv ...
. Only fragments of the early criminal laws of
Ancient Greece Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
have survived, e.g. those of
Solon Solon ( grc-gre, wikt:Σόλων, Σόλων;  BC) was an History of Athens, Athenian statesman, constitutional lawmaker and poet. He is remembered particularly for his efforts to legislate against political, economic and moral decline in A ...
and Draco. In
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
, Gaius's ''Commentaries on the
Twelve Tables The Laws of the Twelve Tables was the legislation that stood at the foundation of Roman law. Formally promulgated in 449 BC, the Tables consolidated earlier traditions into an enduring set of laws.Crawford, M.H. 'Twelve Tables' in Simon Hornblowe ...
'' also conflated the civil and criminal aspects, treating theft (''
furtum ''Furtum'' was a delict of Roman law comparable to the modern offence of theft (as it is usually translated) despite being a Civil law (area), civil and not criminal law, criminal wrong. In the classical law and later, it denoted the contrectatio ...
'') as a
tort A tort is a civil wrong that causes a claimant to suffer loss or harm, resulting in legal liability for the person who commits the tortious act. Tort law can be contrasted with criminal law, which deals with criminal wrongs that are punishab ...
. Assault and violent
robbery Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by use of fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the perso ...
were analogized to
trespass Trespass is an area of tort law broadly divided into three groups: trespass to the person, trespass to chattels, and trespass to land. Trespass to the person historically involved six separate trespasses: threats, assault, battery, wounding, ...
as to property. Breach of such laws created an obligation of law or ''vinculum juris'' discharged by payment of monetary compensation or
damages At common law, damages are a legal remedy, remedy in the form of a money, monetary award to be paid to a claimant as compensation for loss or injury. To warrant the award, the claimant must show that a breach of duty has caused foreseeable loss. ...
. The criminal law of
imperial Rome The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
is collected in Books 47–48 of the Digest. After the revival of Roman law in the 12th century, sixth-century Roman classifications and jurisprudence provided the foundations of the distinction between criminal and civil law in
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
an law from then until the present time. The first signs of the modern distinction between crimes and civil matters emerged during the
Norman Invasion The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of thousands of Normans, Norman, Duchy of Brittany, Breton, County of Flanders, Flemish, and Kingdom of France, French troops, ...
of England. The special notion of criminal penalty, at least concerning Europe, arose in Spanish Late Scholasticism (see Alfonso de Castro), when the theological notion of God's penalty (poena aeterna) that was inflicted solely for a guilty mind, became transfused into canon law first and, finally, to secular criminal law. Codifiers and architects of Early Modern criminal law were the German jurist Benedikt Carpzov (1595-1666), professor of law in
Leipzig Leipzig ( , ; Upper Saxon: ) is the most populous city in the Germany, German States of Germany, state of Saxony. Leipzig's population of 605,407 inhabitants (1.1 million in the larger urban zone) as of 2021 places the city as Germany's L ...
, and two Italians, the Roman judge and lawyer Prospero Farinacci (1544-1618) and the Piedmontese lawyer and statesman Giulio Claro (1525-1575). The development of the state dispensing
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspective ...
in a court clearly emerged in the eighteenth century when European countries began maintaining police services. From this point, criminal law formalized the mechanisms for enforcement, which allowed for its development as a discernible entity.


Objectives of criminal law

Criminal law is distinctive for the uniquely serious, potential consequences or sanctions for failure to abide by its rules. Every crime is composed of criminal elements.
Capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to ...
may be imposed in some jurisdictions for the most serious crimes. Physical or corporal punishment may be imposed such as whipping or
caning Caning is a form of corporal punishment consisting of a number of hits (known as "strokes" or "cuts") with a single Stick-fighting, cane usually made of rattan, generally applied to the offender's bare or clothed buttocks (see spanking) or ha ...
, although these punishments are prohibited in much of the world. Individuals may be
incarcerated A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention cen ...
in
prison A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention cen ...
or
jail A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention cen ...
in a variety of conditions depending on the jurisdiction. Confinement may be solitary. Length of incarceration may vary from a day to life. Government supervision may be imposed, including
house arrest In justice and law, house arrest (also called home confinement, home detention, or, in modern times, Electronic monitoring in the United States, electronic monitoring) is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to their Hous ...
, and convicts may be required to conform to particularized guidelines as part of a
parole Parole (also known as provisional release or supervised release) is a form of early release of a prisoner, prison inmate where the prisoner agrees to abide by certain behavioral conditions, including checking-in with their designated parole offi ...
or
probation Probation in criminal law is a period of supervision over an offence (law), offender, ordered by the court often in lieu of incarceration. In some jurisdictions, the term ''probation'' applies only to community sentences (alternatives to incarce ...
regimen. Fines also may be imposed, seizing money or property from a person convicted of a crime. Five objectives are widely accepted for enforcement of the criminal law by
punishments Punishment, commonly, is the imposition of an undesirable or suffering, unpleasant outcome upon a group or individual, meted out by an authority—in contexts ranging from child discipline to criminal law—as a response and deterrent to a parti ...
: retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, rehabilitation and restoration. Jurisdictions differ on the value to be placed on each. * Retribution – Criminals ought to ''Be Punished'' in some way. This is the most widely seen goal. Criminals have taken improper advantage, or inflicted unfair detriment, upon others and consequently, the criminal law will put criminals at some unpleasant disadvantage to "balance the scales." People submit to the law to receive the right not to be murdered and if people contravene these laws, they surrender the rights granted to them by the law. Thus, one who murders may be executed himself. A related theory includes the idea of "righting the balance." * Deterrence – ''Individual'' deterrence is aimed toward the specific offender. The aim is to impose a sufficient penalty to discourage the offender from criminal behavior. ''General'' deterrence aims at society at large. By imposing a penalty on those who commit offenses, other individuals are discouraged from committing those offenses. * Incapacitation – Designed simply to keep criminals ''away'' from society so that the public is protected from their misconduct. This is often achieved through
prison A prison, also known as a jail, gaol (dated, English language in England, standard English, Australian English, Australian, and Huron Historic Gaol, historically in Canada), penitentiary (American English and Canadian English), detention cen ...
sentences today. The
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to ...
or
banishment Exile is primarily penal expulsion from one's native country A country is a distinct part of the world, such as a state (polity), state, nation, or other polity, political entity. It may be a sovereign state or make up one part of a la ...
have served the same purpose. * Rehabilitation – Aims at transforming an offender into a valuable member of society. Its primary goal is to prevent further offense by convincing the offender that their conduct was wrong. * Restoration – This is a victim-oriented theory of punishment. The goal is to repair, through state authority, any injury inflicted upon the victim by the offender. For example, one who embezzles will be required to repay the amount improperly acquired. Restoration is commonly combined with other main goals of
criminal justice Criminal justice is the delivery of justice to those who have been accused of committing crimes. The criminal justice system is a series of government agencies and institutions. Goals include the Rehabilitation (penology), rehabilitation of o ...
and is closely related to concepts in the civil law, i.e., returning the victim to his or her original position before the injury.


Selected criminal laws

Many laws are enforced by threat of criminal punishment, and the range of the punishment varies with the jurisdiction. The scope of criminal law is too vast to catalog intelligently. Nevertheless, the following are some of the more typical aspects of criminal law.


Elements

The criminal law generally prohibits undesirable ''acts''. Thus, proof of a crime requires proof of some act. Scholars label this the requirement of an
actus reus (), sometimes called the Element (criminal law), external element or the objective element of a crime, is the Law Latin term for the "guilty act" which, when proved beyond a reasonable doubt in combination with the ("guilty mind"), produces cr ...
or ''guilty act''. Some crimes – particularly modern regulatory offenses – require no more, and they are known as
strict liability In criminal law, criminal and Civil law (common law), civil law, strict liability is a standard of Public liability, liability under which a person is legally responsible for the consequences flowing from an activity even in the absence of Tort ...
offenses (E.g. Under the ''Road traffic Act 1988'' it is a strict liability offence to drive a vehicle with an alcohol concentration above the prescribed limit). Nevertheless, because of the potentially severe consequences of criminal conviction, judges at
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions."The common law is not a brooding omnipres ...
also sought proof of an ''intent'' to do some bad thing, the
mens rea In criminal law, (; Law Latin for "guilty mind") is the Mental state, mental element of a person's Intention (criminal law), intention to commit a crime; or knowledge that one's action (or Omission (law), lack of action) would cause a crime to ...
or ''guilty mind''. As to crimes of which both ''actus reus'' and ''mens rea'' are requirements, judges have concluded that the elements must be present at precisely the same moment and it is not enough that they occurred sequentially at different times.


Actus reus

''Actus reus'' is
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
for "guilty act" and is the physical element of committing a crime. It may be accomplished by an action, by threat of action, or exceptionally, by an omission to act, which is a legal duty to act. For example, the act of ''A'' striking ''B'' might suffice, or a parent's failure to give food to a young child also may provide the actus reus for a crime. Where the actus reus is a ''failure'' to act, there must be a ''duty of care''. A duty can arise through
contract A contract is a legally enforceable agreement between two or more Party (law), parties that creates, defines, and governs mutual rights and obligations between them. A contract typically involves the transfer of goods, Service (economics), ser ...
, a voluntary undertaking, a blood relation with whom one lives, and occasionally through one's official position. Duty also can arise from one's own creation of a dangerous situation. On the other hand, it was held in the U.K. that switching off the life support of someone in a persistent vegetative state is an omission to act and not criminal. Since discontinuation of power is not a voluntary act, not grossly negligent, and is in the patient's best interests, no crime takes place. In this case it was held that since a PVS patient could not give or withhold consent to medical treatment, it was for the doctors to decide whether treatment was in the patient's best interest. It was reasonable for them to conclude that treatment was not in the patient's best interest, and should therefore be stopped, when there was no prospect of improvement. It was never lawful to take active steps to cause or accelerate death, although in certain circumstances it was lawful to withhold life sustaining treatment, including feeding, without which the patient would die. An actus reus may be nullified by an absence of causation. For example, a crime involves harm to a person, the person's action must be the '' but for'' cause and ''
proximate cause In law and insurance, a proximate cause is an event sufficiently related to an injury that the courts deem the event to be the cause of that injury. There are two types of Causation (law), causation in the law: cause-in-fact, and proximate (or ...
'' of the harm. If more than one cause exists (e.g. harm comes at the hands of more than one culprit) the act must have "more than a slight or trifling link" to the harm. Causation is not broken simply because a victim is particularly vulnerable. This is known as the thin skull rule. However, it may be broken by an intervening act (''novus actus interveniens'') of a third party, the victim's own conduct, or another unpredictable event. A mistake in
medical Medicine is the science and Praxis (process), practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, Preventive medicine, prevention, therapy, treatment, Palliative care, palliation of their injury or disease, and Health promotion ...
treatment typically will not sever the chain, unless the mistakes are in themselves "so potent in causing death."


Mens rea

''Mens rea'' is another
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
phrase, meaning "guilty mind". This is the mental element of the crime. A guilty mind means an
intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the plan to visit the zoo tomorrow is an example of an intention. The action plan is the ''content'' of the intention while the commitment is the ''a ...
to commit some wrongful act. Intention under criminal law is separate from a person's motive (although motive does not exist in Scots law). A lower threshold of ''mens rea'' is satisfied when a defendant recognizes an act is dangerous but decides to commit it anyway. This is recklessness. It is the mental state of mind of the person at the time the actus reus was committed. For instance, if ''C'' tears a gas meter from a wall to get the money inside, and knows this will let flammable gas escape into a neighbour's house, he could be liable for poisoning. Courts often consider whether the actor did recognize the danger, or alternatively ought to have recognized a risk. Of course, a requirement only that one ''ought'' to have recognized a danger (though he did not) is tantamount to erasing ''intent'' as a requirement. In this way, the importance of
mens rea In criminal law, (; Law Latin for "guilty mind") is the Mental state, mental element of a person's Intention (criminal law), intention to commit a crime; or knowledge that one's action (or Omission (law), lack of action) would cause a crime to ...
has been reduced in some areas of the criminal law but is obviously still an important part in the criminal system. Wrongfulness of intent also may vary the seriousness of an offense and possibly reduce the punishment but this is not always the case. A killing committed with specific intent to kill or with conscious recognition that
death Death is the Irreversible process, irreversible cessation of all biological process, biological functions that sustain an organism. For organisms with a brain, death can also be defined as the irreversible cessation of functioning of the whol ...
or serious bodily harm will result, would be murder, whereas a killing effected by reckless acts lacking such a consciousness could be manslaughter. On the other hand, it matters not who is actually harmed through a defendant's actions. The doctrine of transferred malice means, for instance, that if a man intends to strike a person with his belt, but the belt bounces off and hits another, mens rea is transferred from the intended target to the person who actually was struck. ote: The notion of transferred intent does not exist within Scots' Law. In Scotland, one would not be charged with assault due to transferred intent, but instead assault due to recklessness.


Strict liability

Strict liability can be described as criminal or civil liability notwithstanding the lack of mens rea or intent by the defendant. Not all crimes require specific intent, and the threshold of culpability required may be reduced or demoted. For example, it might be sufficient to show that a defendant acted negligently, rather than intentionally or recklessly. In offenses of
absolute liability Absolute liability is a standard of legal liability found in tort and criminal law of various legal jurisdictions. To be convicted of an ordinary crime, in certain jurisdictions, a person must not only have committed a criminal action but also ha ...
, other than the prohibited act, it may not be necessary to show the act was intentional. Generally, crimes must include an intentional act, and "intent" is an element that must be proved in order to find a crime occurred. The idea of a "strict liability crime" is an oxymoron. The few exceptions are not truly crimes at all – but are administrative regulations and civil penalties created by statute, such as crimes against the traffic or highway code.


Fatal offenses

A ''murder'', defined broadly, is an unlawful killing. Unlawful killing is probably the act most frequently targeted by the criminal law. In many
jurisdictions Jurisdiction (from Latin 'law' + 'declaration') is the legal term for the legal authority granted to a legal entity to enact justice. In federations like the United States, areas of jurisdiction apply to local, state, and federal levels. J ...
, the crime of murder is divided into various gradations of severity, e.g., murder in the ''first degree'', based on ''intent''. '' Malice'' is a required element of murder. Manslaughter (Culpable Homicide in Scotland) is a lesser variety of killing committed in the absence of ''malice'', brought about by reasonable provocation, or diminished capacity. ''Involuntary'' manslaughter, where it is recognized, is a killing that lacks all but the most attenuated guilty intent, recklessness. Settled insanity is a possible defense.


Personal offenses

Many criminal codes protect the physical integrity of the body. The crime of battery is traditionally understood as an unlawful touching, although this does not include everyday knocks and jolts to which people silently consent as the result of presence in a crowd. Creating a fear of imminent battery is an
assault An assault is the act of committing physical harm or unwanted physical contact upon a person or, in some specific legal definitions, a threat or attempt to commit such an action. It is both a crime and a tort and, therefore, may result in crim ...
, and also may give rise to criminal liability. Non-consensual intercourse, or
rape Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration carried out against a person without their consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, Abusive power and control, ...
, is a particularly egregious form of battery.


Property offenses

Property often is protected by the criminal law.
Trespass Trespass is an area of tort law broadly divided into three groups: trespass to the person, trespass to chattels, and trespass to land. Trespass to the person historically involved six separate trespasses: threats, assault, battery, wounding, ...
ing is unlawful entry onto the real property of another. Many criminal codes provide penalties for conversion,
embezzlement Embezzlement is a crime that consists of withholding assets for the purpose of criminal conversion, conversion of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the assets were entrusted, either to be held or to be used for specific purposes. Em ...
,
theft Theft is the act of taking another person's property or Service (economics), services without that person's permission or consent with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of it. The word ''theft'' is also used as a synonym or informal sho ...
, all of which involve deprivations of the value of the property.
Robbery Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take anything of value by force, threat of force, or by use of fear. According to common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the perso ...
is a theft by force.
Fraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compe ...
in the UK is a breach of the Fraud Act 2006 by false representation, by failure to disclose information or by abuse of position.


Participatory offenses

Some criminal codes criminalize association with a criminal venture or involvement in criminality that does not actually come to fruition. Some examples are aiding, abetting,
conspiracy A conspiracy, also known as a plot, is a secret plan or agreement between persons (called conspirers or conspirators) for an unlawful or harmful purpose, such as murder or treason, especially with political motivation, while keeping their agree ...
, and attempt. However, in Scotland, the English concept of Aiding and Abetting is known as Art and Part Liability. See Glanville Williams, Textbook of Criminal Law, (London: Stevens & Sons, 1983); Glanville Williams, Criminal Law the General Part (London: Stevens & Sons, 1961).


Mala in se v. mala prohibita

While crimes are typically broken into degrees or classes to punish appropriately, all offenses can be divided into 'mala in se' and 'mala prohibita' laws. Both are Latin legal terms, mala in se meaning crimes that are thought to be inherently evil or morally wrong, and thus will be widely regarded as crimes regardless of jurisdiction. Mala in se offenses are felonies, property crimes, immoral acts and corrupt acts by public officials. Mala prohibita, on the other hand, refers to offenses that do not have wrongfulness associated with them. Parking in a restricted area, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, jaywalking or unlicensed fishing are examples of acts that are prohibited by statute, but without which are not considered wrong. Mala prohibita statutes are usually imposed strictly, as there does not need to be mens rea component for punishment under those offenses, just the act itself. For this reason, it can be argued that offenses that are mala prohibita are not really crimes at all.


Defenses


Criminal law jurisdictions

Public international law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between State (polity), states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptua ...
deals extensively and increasingly with criminal conduct that is heinous and ghastly enough to affect entire societies and regions. The formative source of modern international criminal law was the
Nuremberg trials The Nuremberg trials were held by the Allies of World War II, Allies against representatives of the defeated Nazi Germany, for plotting and carrying out invasions of other countries, and other crimes, in World War II. Between 1939 and 1945 ...
following the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
in which the leaders of
Nazism Nazism ( ; german: Nazismus), the common name in English for National Socialism (german: Nationalsozialismus, ), is the far-right politics, far-right Totalitarianism, totalitarian political ideology and practices associated with Adolf Hit ...
were prosecuted for their part in
genocide Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people—usually defined as an Ethnic group, ethnic, nationality, national, race (classification of humans), racial, or Religion, religious group—in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term ...
and atrocities across
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
. The Nuremberg trials marked the beginning of criminal fault for individuals, where individuals acting on behalf of a government can be tried for violations of international law without the benefit of sovereign immunity. In 1998 an
International criminal court The International Criminal Court (ICC or ICCt) is an intergovernmental organization and International court, international tribunal seated in The Hague, Netherlands. It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to pro ...
was established in the Rome Statute.


See also

*
Administrative law Administrative law is the division of law that governs the activities of government agency, executive branch agencies of Forms of government, government. Administrative law concerns executive branch rule making (executive branch rules are gener ...
* French criminal law *
International law International law (also known as public international law and the law of nations) is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally recognized as binding between State (polity), states. It establishes normative guidelines and a common conceptua ...
* Legal socialization * Public criminology *
Martial law Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to an emergency where civil forces are overwhelmed, or in an military occupation, occupied t ...
*
European Union law European Union law is a system of rules operating within the member states of the European Union (EU). Since the founding of the European Coal and Steel Community following World War II, the EU has developed the aim to "promote peace, its value ...


International criminal law

*
Crimes against humanity Crimes against humanity are widespread or systemic acts committed by or on behalf of a ''de facto'' authority, usually a State (polity), state, that grossly violate human rights. Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity do not have to take pla ...
*
International criminal law International criminal law (ICL) is a body of public international law designed to prohibit certain categories of conduct commonly viewed as serious atrocities and to make perpetrators of such conduct criminally accountable for their perpetrati ...
* United States and the International Criminal Court *
Universal jurisdiction Universal jurisdiction is a legal principle that allows Sovereign state, states or international organizations to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, and regardless of the accuse ...


National criminal law

*
Australian criminal law The criminal law of Australia is the body of law in Australia that relates to crime. Responsibility for criminal law in Australia is divided between the states and territories of Australia, state and territory parliaments and the Commonwealth P ...
* Canadian criminal law * Criminal Code of Russia *
Penal Code of Romania The Penal Code of Romania (''Codul penal al României'') is a document providing the legal basis regarding criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It prescribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwis ...
* Criminal law of Singapore *
Criminal law of the United States Responsibility for criminal law and criminal justice in the United States is shared between the State governments of the United States, states and the Federal government of the United States, federal government. Parties to a crime The parties o ...
* English criminal law * Penal Code of France * Hong Kong criminal law * Indian criminal law * Irish criminal law * Northern Irish criminal law * Philippine criminal law *
Scottish criminal law Scots criminal law relies far more heavily on common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent, judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in ...
* Strafgesetzbuch (Switzerland)


Publications

*''De pace Regis et regni'', by Ferdinando Pulton, published 1609


References


Citations


Sources

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R v Brown (1994) 1 AC 212


External links


Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on Theories of Criminal LawFindlaw.com Criminal Law CenterCornell InstituteMax Planck Information System for Comparative Criminal Law
Country reports on criminal law covering 25 legal systems {{DEFAULTSORT:Criminal Law Political corruption