- Elements of crimes — International criminal law, conduct of proceedings — Evidence
This chapter comments on Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Article 7 defines crimes against humanity, one of four categories of offence within the subject-matter jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court. The classic definitions of crimes against humanity, in such instruments as the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, are vague and open-ended, leaving courts to interpret the scope of such expressions as ‘persecution’ and ‘inhumane acts’. Out of concern with the uncertain parameters of the crime, the drafters of the Rome Statute included extra language designed to restrain efforts at generous or liberal interpretation. The five distinct ‘contextual elements’ of crimes against humanity are: (i) an attack directed against any civilian population; (ii) a State or organizational policy; (iii) an attack of a widespread or systematic nature; (iv) a nexus between the individual act and the attack; and (v) knowledge of the attack.
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