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Crimes Against Humanity - revistited : Is there a role for economic and social rights?

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2001
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Number of pages23
Original languageEnglish


The article examines the possibility of including economic and social human rights into the concept of crimes against humanity. The article analyses the various definitions of crimes against humanity and genocide contained in international instruments adopted from 1945 up to the Statutes of the ICC of 1998, and addresses the circumstances in which atrocities need to have occurred in order to fulfil requirements of the various instruments. The conclusion reached is that the definition of crimes against humanity is open-ended enough to include economic and social rights, and that the concept does not require an international conflict, but rather systematic and large scale abuse for it to be triggered. Further, the article discusses possible violations of economic and social human rights that are sufficiently severe to merit an inclusion into the crimes against humanity concept, such as deliberate starvation, or forced evictions. The author is not advocating that the concept of crimes against humanity should be applied to less severe human rights abuses, but argues that focusing on civil and political rights only is an arbitrary distinction for the victims of atrocities.