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Removing or Reincarnating the Policy Requirement of Crimes against Humanity: Introductory Note



Of the three existing core crimes in international criminal law, crimes against humanity is the most elusive one, a chameleonic crime that can change colour over time, since it does not possess an unambiguous conceptual character. The characterizing element of genocide obviously is the specific intent to destroy. War crimes must have a nexus with an armed conflict. The identifying element of crimes against humanity is more difficult to pin down as the contextual elements have changed over time.



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1 See for one of the earlier overviews displaying the chameleonic nature of crimes against humanity Y. Dinstein, ‘Crimes against Humanity after Tadić’, (2000) 13 LJIL 373.

2 The symposium articles immediately following in this journal provide some ‘Impressions from Kampala’.

3 Situation in the Republic of Kenya, Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorization of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Kenya, ICC-01/09, 31 March 2010.

* Dr Larissa van den Herik is associate professor of public international law at the Grotius Centre for International Legal Studies, Leiden University/Campus The Hague. Prof. Dr Elies van Sliedregt is Professor of Criminal Law at VU University Amsterdam. The authors are editor-in-chief and senior editor respectively of this journal.

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Leiden Journal of International Law
  • ISSN: 0922-1565
  • EISSN: 1478-9698
  • URL: /core/journals/leiden-journal-of-international-law
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