Execution of unethical orders

Other Names:
Execution of illegal orders
Blind obedience
Irresponsible obedience

Officials, employees and military personnel can receive orders which they recognize as leading to harmful or unjust consequences. They are then faced with whether to obey them, given that obedience is the basis for their employment and they are liable to lose their job, or be subject to other penalties, if they fail to execute the order. Execution of orders in violation of human rights or those endangering the environment.


In some countries there is authorization not to execute orders which are manifestly unlawful, but it remains difficult to define the meaning of manifestly by reference to international law. Despite acceptance of the principle, in concrete settings it remains easier for the individual to execute such an order rather than be exposed to the penalties of failing to do so.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST