The prevailing theory in continental European and Latin American legal literature distinguishes two kinds of punishable omissions: the simple (or "authentic," "genuine") omission and the "inauthentic" or "pseudo" omission (also known as commission by omission, comisióón por omisióón). In this article a tripartite classification of crimes of omission is proposed. On the one hand, there are crimes of omission that are identical to cases of active commission (for which we should reserve the term of commission by omission). These are based on the idea of responsibility for one's own organization. On the other hand, there are simple crimes of omission in which we punish a breach of a duty of minimum solidarity toward our fellow citizens. Somewhere between these two categories lies a third type of aggravated crimes of omission that are based on liability for a breach of a duty of qualified solidarity (derived from specific institutions or relationships between people). Moreover, this threefold classification is based on the idea that differences between such omissions are a matter of degree.
- ©© 2008 by the Regents of the University of California