Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The concept of crimes against humanity emerged in reaction to massive government-orchestrated crimes including, in particular, the holocaust. Unlike the other prototypically international crimes – war crimes and genocide – the proscription against crimes against humanity has not been enshrined in an international convention. Instead, the law of crimes against humanity has developed piecemeal, largely through the legal instruments and jurisprudence of the various courts and tribunals adjudicating these crimes. This chapter describes the evolution of the definition of crimes against humanity and argues that the ad hoc development of these crimes has produced enduring normative debates and doctrinal ambiguities.