Panel three: Progress on a progressive Convention on Crimes against Humanity
After decades of study, debate, drafting and delay, we are at last approaching an opportunity for substantive state discussion on the merits of the draft articles for the first multilateral treaty on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity. Since they were first prosecuted at Nuremberg in 1945, crimes against humanity have never been the subject of a comprehensive international convention, despite the international community’s adoption of ground-breaking treaties on genocide and war crimes. This absence introduces enormous practical and legal roadblocks, creating uncertainty for the rights of victims and defendants across jurisdictions, and inhibiting timely, consistent inter-state cooperation on issues such as extradition and mutual legal assistance. Although the International Law Commission adopted a draft text in 2019, the document spent three years stalled in the Sixth Committee, until a resolution helped to break through the impasse this fall. As we approach the critical spring session in the Sixth Committee, this panel features some of the world’s foremost experts on crimes against humanity and invites them to explore opportunities to advance a progressive text in the upcoming negotiations, which accounts for the full spectrum of atrocities that should be addressed by the convention.
Shannon Raj Singh, Co-Chair, War Crimes Committee
Priya Gopalan, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
Akila Radhakrishnan, Global Justice Center
Professor Leila Sadat, Member, War Crimes Committee Advisory Board