United Nations A/hrc/19/68

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Crimes against humanity: Crimes against humanity are those crimes which “shock the conscience of humanity.” Under the Rome Statute, crimes against humanity occur where certain acts are undertaken as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population where the perpetrator has knowledge of the attack.37 The elements of crimes against humanity are well established in international criminal law:38

    1. There must be one or more attacks;

    2. The acts of the perpetrator must be part of the attack(s);

    3. The attack(s) must be directed against any civilian population;

    4. The attack(s) must be widespread or systematic;

    5. The perpetrator must know that his or her acts constitute part of a pattern of widespread or systematic crimes directed against a civilian population and know that his or her acts fit into such a pattern.

    6. The underlying acts – or crimes – referred to paragraph v. above have been enumerated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.39 The list includes a number of the violations the elements of which are set out elsewhere in this report, for example, unlawful killings;40 enforced disappearances;41 torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment;42 and/or rape,43 and their elements are not repeated here.

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