Crimes against humanity

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Articles on illegal behaviour

Crimes against humanity is 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:

See also[edit]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 Crimes Against Humanity United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998)
  3. See the Wikipedia article on Special Court for Sierra Leone.
  4. See the Wikipedia article on Khmer Rouge Tribunal.


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