Joint NGOs Letter on Draft Convention on Crimes Against Humanity

Crimes against HumanityThis week, 12 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), amongst which Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, sent a joint letter to the Special Rapporteur of the International Law Commission on crimes against humanity regarding his work on the draft articles for a Convention on crimes against humanity.

The NGOs urge the Special Rapporteur to set out provisions which among others oblige states to exercise their competence when a person suspected of responsibility for crimes against humanity is found in any territory subject to their jurisdiction and permit States to initiate investigations based on universal jurisdiction over crimes against humanity suspects.

The NGOs say that “no safe havens whatsoever should be available for those who perpetrate crimes against humanity”, as those crimes are so grave that they harm the entire international community.

For them, such approach is consistent with the principle established in Nuremberg and would also be the most appropriate framing of jurisdiction, given the position under customary international law and the relationship between crimes against humanity and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

The Special Rapporteur will soon be presenting a set of draft articles, mainly on the scope of States’ jurisdiction for crimes against humanity, for the consideration of the International Law Commission.