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Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2013, Vol. II, Part 2

image of Yearbook of the International Law Commission 2013, Vol. II, Part 2

The International Law Commission was established in 1947 with a view to carrying out the responsibility of the General Assembly, under article 13(1)(a) of the Charter of the United Nations, to “initiate studies and make recommendations for the purpose of... encouraging the progressive development of international law and its codification.” Since its first session in 1949, the Commission has considered a wide-range of topics of international law and made a number of proposals for its codification and progressive development, some of which have served as the basis for the subsequent adoption of major multilateral treaties. The Yearbook of the International Law Commission contains the official records of the Commission and is an indispensable tool for the preservation of the legislative history of the documents emanating from the Commission, as well as for the teaching, study, dissemination and wider appreciation of the efforts undertaken by the Commission in the progressive development of international law and its codification. Volume II (Part Two) reproduces the edited version of the annual report of the Commission to the General Assembly.

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Crimes against humanity

1. In the field of international law, three core crimes have emerged: war crimes; genocide; and crimes against humanity.1 While all three crimes have been the subject of jurisdiction within the major international criminal tribunals established to date, only two of them have been addressed through a global treaty that requires States to prevent and punish such conduct and to cooperate among themselves towards those ends. War crimes have been codified by means of the “grave breaches” provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions2 and additional Protocol I.3 Genocide has been codified by means of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Yet no comparable treaty exists concerning crimes against humanity, even though the perpetration of such crimes remains an egregious phenomenon in numerous conflicts and crises worldwide.

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