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States Obligations in Respect of Crimes against Humanity

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes that international law imposes certain duties on individual States to punish grave violations of human rights. The nature of such duties is either clearly stated in criminal and human rights law conventions, or inferred from custom, the practice of international organisations and the judgements of national and international tribunals. Criminal law conventions use language binding the parties to co-operate to the fullest possible extent in repressing prohibited conduct. The Geneva Conventions, the Genocide Convention and the Torture Convention are among the treaties which contain an explicit obligation to prosecute. Customary international law establishes permissive jurisdiction to prosecute offenders of crimes against humanity both internally and internationally. Other sources that may provide evidence of the State obligation to prosecute crimes against humanity include United Nations resolutions, Reports and declarations of international organisations, and court decisions.

Keywords: criminal law conventions; customary international law; humanity; international law; international organisations; international tribunals; United Nations resolutions



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