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Public Health Crisis Management and Criminal Liability of Members of Government

Project Leads

Michael Bohlander

Gerhard Kemp

Mark J. Webster

Project Description

We can see across a number of countries vast differences in government responses to the current Covid-19 pandemic. This can be divided in the choice of strategies (herd immunity, test-and-trace, lockdown) and the question of the quality and speed of government implementation of such strategies. Both factors have in one way or another had an impact on the number of infections and casualties.

It is not outlandish to consider forms of criminal liability for failure of individual members of government, including specific public authorities, to act to the best of their abilities, as timely as possible, and in accordance with expert advice. This study addresses potential avenues of criminal liability under national and international criminal law, especially for causing death and bodily harm.

Project Jurisdictions

The following countries have been selected to represent major hotspots, different policy approaches, and major populations/global regions, using total infections, with and without symptoms, and deaths as the main qualifier.

  • Brazil
  • China/Taiwan/Hong Kong
  • France
  • Germany
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Russia
  • South Africa  
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • USA  

Project Publications

The book arising from this project is under contract with Hart and scheduled to be published in late 2022.