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The Notion of Crimes against Humanity as a Human Right

Uploaded by bayushibors on Nov 15, 2002

"Inter arma silent leges"
-Roman maxim

War and law have had a constant relationship between each other ever since the existence of conflict as a collective phenomenon. The regulation of the state of war, whether stemming from tradition, custom, certain codes of conduct and, ultimately, law, has evolved throughout the centuries together with the notion of war.

The idea of a "Crime of War", or war crime, is not new to the modern legal vocabulary. Unorthodox practices during a war have been branded as war crimes in many scenarios of conflict. However, these war crimes were not in themselves punishable in any international court (mainly due to the practical non-existence of such legal apparatus before the United Nations) and were very much a notion without a consequence, a general concept floating above the aftermath of wars , and not affecting individuals as such but rather relying on the concept of state responsibility. It is only since the development of a doctrine of Human Rights, of fundamental, documented universal principles, that such crimes have materialised into a legal cast due to the development of the notion of "Crimes against Humanity" and its derived breaches. The concept of "Crimes against Humanity" has been a product of very recent historical, political and social developments which has brought war crimes under a different light in international law, and very much under the scope of Human Rights, which have impregnated the law of war as an international, codified phenomenon in many ways. As a provision, it was the initial step which began a whole new approach from part of the international community towards certain abuses against civilians during periods of war and also during peace-time. Certain practices became theoretically "illegal" in a very broad sense within the international community, criminalising governments, collectives and individuals, whether military or civilian, and covering the commission of crimes both in an individual basis as well as in a collective sense. Conventions have arisen after the appearance of this idea, as well as resolutions and other relevant legislation emanating from international bodies and organisms (mainly the UN). The ultimate reason for these provisions to arise, in theoretical terms and laying aside political considerations, has been the protection of the human being as an individual, regardless of geographical, political or social factors and circumstances, and hence has become a "Human Right", so to say, in its own right.

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Uploaded by:   bayushibors

Date:   11/15/2002

Category:   Law

Length:   13 pages (2,880 words)

Views:   2413

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