Crimes against humanity
Crimes against humanity are certain acts that are purposefully committed as part of a widespread or systematic policy, directed against civilians, in times of war or peace. They differ from war crimes because they are not acts committed by individual soldiers but are acts committed in furtherance of a state or organizational policy.
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- UN Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect works to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity....Crimes against humanity have not yet been codified in a dedicated treaty of international law, unlike genocide and war crimes, although there are efforts to do so. Despite this, the prohibition of crimes against humanity, similar to the prohibition of genocide, has been considered a peremptory norm of international law, from which no derogation is permitted and which is applicable to all States.
- The truly distinguishing element of crimes against humanity is the fact that they are part of a State plan or policy rather than that they are widespread or systematic... crimes against humanity were originally designed to capture crimes of State that went unpunished precisely because the State was complicit in them. It was a way of addressing State crimes, and not perverse individuals.
- William A. Schabas, ‘Whither genocide? The International Court of Justice finally pronounces’ (2007) 9 Journal of Genocide Research 183, 189 (‘Schabas, “Whither genocide?”’).