Origins and development

Norman Geras

in Crimes Against Humanity

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780719082412
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702086 | DOI:
Origins and development

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This chapter sketches something of the prehistory of the idea of crimes against humanity up to the end of the Second World War, its official emergence in the Nuremberg Charter and Trial, and some further landmarks in its development. The chapter is essentially preparatory; it may be seen as laying out the raw materials for the conceptual analysis and argument to follow. At the same time as registering some basic facts in the history of a new legal concept, it raises a question to which it does not provide the answer. For it introduces an idea fundamental to the offence of crimes against humanity—namely, that states are not above all law in the way they treat those under their jurisdiction—without explaining in virtue of what they are held to be so constrained by a ‘higher’ law.

Keywords: crimes against humanity; Nuremberg Charter; states; higher law

Chapter.  9661 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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