What is JCE?


Joint criminal enterprise, often abbreviated “JCE,” is a legal doctrine that a court can use to convict a defendant of certain crimes committed by others in furtherance of a common plan or purpose. According to most legal scholars, there are three basic types of JCE. First, defendants can be found guilty if they intentionally act as part of a group carrying out a common criminal plan or design. This type of JCE is the least controversial. It builds on the notion—long recognized in most domestic legal systems—that accomplices or co-conspirators can be held responsible for crimes even when they did not pull the trigger. Although the Nuremberg Court did not use the term “joint criminal enterprise,” it was the first international tribunal to invoke a similar theory, using the concept of conspiracy as grounds for convicting some Nazi officials. Under the second form of JCE, defendants can be found guilty for crimes committed at a penal institution-like a prison or concentration camp-if they