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Article

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The Continuing Debate over Responsibility: An Introduction to Isolating the Condemnation Sanction, 68 Yale Law Journal 869 (1959)

Abstract

In recent years, perennial questions about criminal responsibility' have gone through another phase of active and sometimes vociferous debate. After World War II, both civilian and military leaders of defeated countries were prosecuted as war criminals under doctrines and conventions of international law that gave rise to controversies not yet ended. As a defeated or liberated nation put its house in order, many delicate problems involving the activities of wartime collaborators were resolved in various ways. The boom in world institution building, which shaped the United Nations and an auxiliary net of international organizations, made it necessary to consider issues of legal responsibility. Social revolution and national reconstruction have brought about the revamping of criminal codes. Similar ferment in this country has manifested itself in comprehensive revisions of criminal legislation in Louisiana and Wisconsin, by movements for reform in other states, and, most significantly, by the Model Penal Code project of the American Law Institute. Where reconsideration has been less comprehensive, as in Great Britain, old controversies for example, the merits of capital punishment have never-theless surfaced. Many countries have been perplexed by the problem of selecting and enforcing appropriate standards of sexual conduct and juvenile behavior. The extraordinary growth of psychiatry has challenged and con-fused earlier conceptions of the proper limits of both criminal and civil responsibility.

Date of Authorship for this Version

1959

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