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1 Towards a Universal Law of International Crimes: General Introduction

From: International Crimes: Law and Practice: Volume I: Genocide

Guénaël Mettraux

From: Oxford Public International Law (http://opil.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2023. All Rights Reserved.date: 24 June 2024

Subject(s):
Refugees — Immunities — Defences — International crimes — Amnesty

This chapter considers the prospect of a universal law of international crimes. It begins by laying out the definition of international crimes — as violations of international law, characterized by the severity of their crimes and its very engagement with international law. The characterization of a particular conduct as an international core crime has a number of legal and jurisdictional consequences, including in regards to the scope of jurisdictional competence over such acts, the applicability of immunities and amnesties, the availability of particular defences, the existence of certain obligations to prevent and punish such acts, and whether suspects are entitled to refugee status. The chapter then turns to the history of international crimes and how international law regulates these, from mid-nineteenth-century norms to the international tribunals established during the 1990s. It also considers the trends in domestic and international jurisprudence of international crimes. These histories thus lay the foundation for the heart of the chapter — the making of a universal law of international crimes.

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