Crimes of Omission: Why a UN Treaty on Genocide but Not on Crimes Against Humanity?

Crimes against humanity was a revolutionary concept in 1945. Unlike war crimes, which are generally committed against nationals of an adversary, these crimes could be committed against “any civilian population,” irrespective of nationality. The concept filled a conspicuous lacuna that situated Holocaust victims belonging to the European Axis States beyond the scope of international criminal law. Article 6(c) of the IMT Charter limited the jurisdiction of the Tribunal to crimes against humanity committed “in execution of or in connection with” crimes against peace or war crimes. Without a nexus to war, the IMT Charter would have criminalized human rights violations in peacetime – an unprecedented and unacceptable encroachment on sovereignty at the time. readmore

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