A New International Treaty on Crimes Against Humanity
A new treaty on crimes against humanity (CAH) is being considered at the United Nations (UN). The proposed treaty has significant potential to advance justice for gender-based crimes. But in order to achieve a strong gender-just and survivor-centered treaty, diverse civil society organizations around the world must engage in the treaty development process.
While genocide and war crimes are codified in standalone conventions, there is no analogous individual international treaty that codifies and establishes duties on states to prevent and punish crimes against humanity. To address this gap, the UN’s International Law Commission (ILC) prepared the Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Humanity, which provide a starting point for the discussion and negotiation of a new international treaty on crimes against humanity.
Where is the Treaty Now?
The draft treaty is currently being considered by the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) Sixth Committee, its legal committee. In April 2023, states convened a week-long special resumed session of the Sixth Committee dedicated solely to exchanging views on the substance of the draft treaty. A second, similar Sixth Committee session to discuss the draft treaty will take place in April 2024, and states will make a formal decision on next steps in October 2024.