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. 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.
The 1998 Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court represents the current consensus on what characterizes crimes against humanity. The statute defines crimes against humanity as consisting of three parts: a physical element, a contextual element, and a mental element. The physical element consists of any of:
The contextual element is "when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population." The mental element is "with knowledge of the attack." Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity do not need to be linked to an armed conflict.