International Crimes

Authored by: William A. Schabas

Routledge Handbook of International Law

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  January  2009

Print ISBN: 9780415418768
eBook ISBN: 9780203884621
Adobe ISBN: 9781134113095


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The conception of international crimes, as mala in se or mala prohibita, is considered against the background of the early efforts at codification. The distinction between crimes that have been internationalized in order to facilitate their repression, such as piracy, and the more recent categories such as crimes against humanity and genocide, whose defining characteristics include the fact they are “crimes of state” is considered. Drafting of the International Law Commission Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind is considered, as well as judicial contributions to the evolving definitions. The consequences of international criminalization are examined, such as the possibility of exercise of universal jurisdiction, the impact upon immunities recognized at customary international law and the obligation to prosecute or extradite.

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