Responsible Education: Responsibility under International Law for Indoctrination to Hatred and Violence in Education Systems

States and other political entities often enshrine political narratives in their education systems.  However, such practices can cross the threshold of legality and thus warrant imposition of responsibility under international law, when States use their education systems to systematically indoctrinate students by promoting an agenda of violence against their political rivals.  Using psychological evidence, this Note articulates the causal effect between systematic indoctrination into hatred and violence in education systems and violations of international law during armed conflicts, during which there are higher probabilities that indoctrinated persons will be triggered to carry out the violent agenda they were taught to follow.  The Note examines individual criminal liability under international criminal law for those behind such systematic indoctrination. It also analyzes State responsibility under international humanitarian law, suggesting that systematic indoctrination to hatred and violence runs counter to States’ fundamental duty to “ensure respect” for the Geneva Conventions.  Finally, this Note sets out an argument for future imposition of international legal responsibility on State entities for violations committed by indoctrinated persons.

57 Colum. J. Transnat'l L. 600