New mechanisms for punishing atrocities in non-international armed conflicts
Sean D. Murphy
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Melbourne journal of international law, Vol. 16, no. 2, December 2015, p. 1-12
Three core crimes have emerged as a part of the jurisdiction of international criminal tribunals: war crimes; genocide; and crimes against humanity. Only two of these crimes (war crimes and genocide) have been addressed through a global treaty that requires States to prevent and punish such conduct and to cooperate among themselves toward those ends. Yet crimes against humanity may be more prevalent than either genocide or war crimes, and are a recurrent feature in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs). As such, a global convention on prevention, punishment, and inter-State cooperation with respect to crimes against humanity appears to be a key missing piece in the current framework of international humanitarian law, international criminal law, and international human rights law. Such a convention could help to stigmatize such egregious conduct, could draw further attention to the need for its prevention and punishment, and could help to harmonize national laws relating to such conduct, thereby opening the door to more meaningful inter-State cooperation on the investigation, prosecution, and extradition for such crimes. In July 2014, the International Law Commission embarked on the drafting of such a convention, in the hope of presentation to the U.N. General Assembly within the next five years.