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4. Procedural Innovations in War Crimes Trials

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Chapter Summary

The crime of persecution is well established under international law as a crime against humanity. This chapter briefly tracks the origins and development of the crime of persecution from the early 20th century to the establishment of the ICTY in 1993. It also tracks in detail the significant developments in the law of persecution which have taken place before the ICTY, focusing on both the actus reus and the mens rea of the crime. The chapter demonstrates how far the jurisprudence of the ICTY has assisted in the development of the substance of the crime. The origins of the crime of persecution are closely intertwined with those of crimes against humanity as a whole. The sheer magnitude of the crimes committed during World War II drew a range of multinational declarations of abhorrence and commitment to retribution, starting well before the end of the war.

Keywords: actus reus; humanity; ICTY; international law; mens rea; persecution; World War II



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