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War Crimes - Essay Example

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Violence in many forms has become a distinguishable feature of the present world order. The peculiarity of the violence in twenty first century is the fact that it is international than ever. The international nature of crimes and violence has been well documented by theorists such as Hardt and Negri…
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War Crimes
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Download file to see previous pages Genocides and crimes against humanity have occurred in the past too but its form and content have profoundly changed in the new century so the agency of international community in its preventive and punitive measures.
The Preamble of the Rome Statute limits the jurisdiction of the Court to only to "the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole" (Article 5(1) Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court). Genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are considered to be the type of most serious crimes which affect the international community as a whole. The definitions of genocide and crimes against humanity are elaborated in the articles 6-8 are based on provisions in the preceding treaties.
The term crimes against humanity appeared well before 1945 to describe the extermination of the Armenian community by the Ottoman Turkish state. The Nuremberg Charter and the negotiations on it led to the making of a provision named as "crimes against humanity". Besides the war crimes, Article 6 (c) of the Nuremberg Charter enumerates crimes against humanity as "murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, and other inhumane acts committed against anu civilian population, before or during the war or persecutions on political, racial, or religious grounds". The novelty of the conception of crimes against humanity lies in the fact that it includes the aggression caused by a state on its own citizens. There exists a dilemma in the existing conception of crimes against humanity as to whether to link these crimes with international armed conflict or not. If there is no nexus between crimes against humanity and international armed conflict, human rights violations of all types would come under the purview of crimes against humanity and thereby, loosing its specificity. Importantly, the Statute of the Rwanda Tribunal does not include an inherent link between crimes against humanity and armed conflict (Article 3 ICTR Statute). As a result of various reforms through tribunals and ad hoc committees, apartheid, enforced disappearances, rape, imprisonment, persecution too are enlisted as crimes against humanity and a loose concern of "other inhumane acts". It means that genocide and crimes against humanity thus defined are closely related to international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
The definition of genocide delineated in the article 6 of the Rome Statute is based on its portrayal by Genocide convention of 1948. It does not differentiate between crimes committed at the times of peace and war. The law of genocide is essentially group based. To take account of genocide, the intent of the crime is duly considered. The legal definition of genocide includes crimes such s killing of the members of a group, causing bodily or mental harm to members of a group, measures for the destruction of a community in whole or in part, programmed prevention of births within a group and forceful transfer of children of one group to another.
In crimes against humanity, the perpetrator possesses knowledge about the specific attack, it would be used to target a community, and the violence would be employed as part of widespread and systematic attack. The enforcement of the international law against genocide and crimes against humanity thus effectively challenges the notion that the application of violence by nation states is a priori legitimate and activates a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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