Case Title

The Prosecutor v. Dominic Ongwen (ICC-02/04-01/15 A)

Document Type

Briefs and Court Filings

Publication Date



The amicus brief argues that in a case where the defendant alleges a ground excluding criminal responsibility (an affirmative defense), such as mental illness or duress, the defendant has an evidentiary burden to produce some evidence to support his/her claim of mental illness or duress, but that the prosecution retains the legal burden of proof to establish the defendant's responsibility beyond reasonable doubt.

“This ruling will have repercussions for future cases where the defendant asserts a mental illness or duress affirmative defense. Depending on how the ICC decides, future defendants will have to meet a specific evidentiary (or legal) burden when raising their claims,” said Sterio. “If our position is adopted, future defendants will only have to produce some evidence of a mental illness or duress, enough to meet a "prima facie" evidentiary burden, but the legal burden of proof will remain on the prosecution to establish the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Multiple other authors through the Public International Law & Policy Group (PILPG)