University of Miami Inter-American Law Review


A great deal of academic research and writing has been done on the most glaring examples of war crimes and crimes against humanity. But, only a small cadre of authors have endeavored to identify the ‘lower limit’ of when state action qualifies as these heinous acts. This Note strives to add to that area of legal scholarship aimed at bringing instances of in-country state perpetrated violence out from the behind the veil of sovereign police action and into the spotlight to call them what they are: crimes worthy of international condemnation and punishment. Specifically, this Note unpacks two spasms of state level violence—Chile’s in 2019 and Colombia’s in 2021––both of which occurred in response to public protests and unrest. In doing so, this Note compares the facts of those events where national police forces and militaries were deployed against civilian protestors and highlights leading case law from international tribunals and regional human rights courts. Further, this Note applies those facts and persuasive cases to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as the relevant controlling treaty law for war crimes and crimes against humanity prosecutions. As a result, this Note runs its course as an academic ‘how-to’ guide for those interested in and committed to seeing the most powerful face justice for their actions and those of their subordinates at the International Criminal Court.