A conviction for ordering atrocities requires that the atrocities actually take place.
However, ordering the commission of international crimes in the superior-subordinate relationship context should be treated like the offense of incitement. In other words, it should be enough to have uttered the words alone (within the context of a superior-subordinate relationship) to be liable for the offense of ordering.
This should not be dependent on whether the target crime is actually committed when the context indicates that there is a high likelihood of the order being carried out – a risk we should not be willing to assume.
Utterance of an order (to commit an atrocity crime) itself should be considered criminal.
This shift would promote pre-crime deterrence, rather than rely upon post-crime punishment. It would also send a message that speech ordering the commission of atrocity crimes is never excusable.