Crimes against humanity

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The concept of crimes against humanity is a part of international customary law, and is not currently recognized by a dedicated international treaty.[1] The concept was first used in 1915 by the Allied forces of World War I (then France, Great Britain, and Russia) with regards to the mass killings of Armenians within the Ottoman Empire.[1]

The 1998 Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court represents the current consensus on what characterizes crimes against humanity.[1][2] The statute defines crimes against humanity as consisting of three parts: a physical element, a contextual element, and a mental element.[1][2] The physical element consists of any of:[1][2]

  1. Murder
  2. Extermination
  3. Enslavement
  4. Deportation or forcible transfer of population
  5. Imprisonment
  6. Torture
  7. Grave forms of sexual violence
  8. PersecutionWikipedia[note 1]
  9. Enforced disappearance of persons
  10. The crime of apartheid
  11. Other inhumane acts

The contextual element is "when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population."[1][2] The mental element is "with knowledge of the attack."[1][2] Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity do not need to be linked to an armed conflict.[1]

The first prosecutions of crimes against humanity were made in 1945 during the Nuremberg trials following the culmination of World War II.[1] Other prosecutions have been made in connection with:

The ICC has also issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, in connection to the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine,[5], and Ismail HaniyehWikipedia and Benjamin Netanyahu for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the 2023-2024 Gaza War.[6]

See also[edit]



  1. This means real persecution, not the fantasies of whackjobs with a victimhood fetish.