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“Meždunarodnoe pravosudie” (International Justice) Journal

№ 1(21) 2017. Galina Nelaeva. “Crimes against Humanity” in domestic courts’ case-law: problems, dilemmas, controversies

Galina Nelaeva - Candidate of Political Sciences (Ph.D.), Associate Professor, Tyumen State University, Tyumen, Russia.

DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2017-1-122-133

Abstract. Crimes against humanity as a category of crimes emerged in the aftermath of World War II with the creation of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. Later on, in the 1990s, «crimes against humanity» were included in the UN ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Application and interpretation of crimes against humanity by international and national courts keeps raising numerous legal and philosophical questions. One of the controversial issues is the interpretation of crimes constituting crimes against humanity. In this article we seek to look into the problematic aspects related to the conceptualization and application of this category of crimes by national courts. In particular, we are looking into domestic courts’ interpretation of the category of crimes against humanity in such decisions as Barbie, Papon and Touvier (France), and into the application of the principle of universal jurisdiction in the Finta decision (Canada) and Scilingo decision (Spain). Political and legal dilemmas are examined further to demonstrate the interplay between law and politics in domestic trials that deal with international crimes. As the article concludes, not only domestic political context is vital in examining crimes against humanity and their application, internationally, political bodies like the UN Security Council increasingly refer to this category in its R2P doctrine. Thus, not only judicial institutions deal with interpretation and application of international crimes, but also political bodies address this category.

Keywords: crimes against humanity; international criminal law; “Vichy syndrome”; domestic trials; Nazi war criminals.

Citation: Nelaeva G. (2017) Rassmotrenie «prestupleniy protiv chelovechnosti» natcional'nymi sudami: problemy, diskussii, protivorechiya [“Crimes against Humanity” in domestic courts' case-law: problems, dilemmas, controversies]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, no.1, pp.122–133. (In Russian).


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