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R2P and the Prohibition of Torture

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Chapter Summary

World War II and the horrific experiences of the holocaust have had a long-lasting impact on the development of international law. The paradigm shift through R2P does not lie in the fact that the Security Council is authorized to take binding measures against governments for the protection of human rights of the affected population. Together with expulsion of the civilian population, murder and disappearances, torture is an often used instrument for ethnic cleansing. Often the transition from ethnic cleansing to genocide is fluent, as especially illustrated by the example of Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to Article 7(1)(f) of the ICC Statute the widespread or systematic use of torture is explicitly mentioned as one of the crimes which can amount to a crime against humanity. Finally, torture of combatants and civilians of course constitutes a serious breach of international humanitarian law and thus is punished as a war crime.

Keywords: ethnic cleansing; genocide; human rights; International Criminal Court (ICC); international humanitarian law; prohibition of torture; Responsibility to Protect (R2P); Security Council; war crime; World War II



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