A jurisdictional threshold

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:
A jurisdictional threshold

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This chapter explores the logical consequences of the conceptual underpinning discussed in Chapter 2. It attempts to resolve the issue of how to distinguish between crimes against humanity under international law and ordinary crimes under domestic law. It considers the most important features that have been argued to be—and not to be—defining the jurisdictional requirements of the offence of crimes against humanity: discussing the connection with war, the idea of a crime of state, the would-be requirement of a discriminatory component, the need for a threshold of scale and, throughout, the relation between crimes against humanity and basic human rights. It proposes a conceptualization of the offence of crimes against humanity that is consonant with the reading of ‘against humanity’ given in Chapter 2. It shows that an important problem remains within current crimes-against-humanity law—a contradiction, indeed, between the human-rights basis of this law and the threshold of scale that is standardly held to apply to the definition of the offence. A way of handling the contradiction is suggested.

Keywords: crimes against humanity; international law; domestic law; jurisdiction

Chapter.  7476 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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