United Nations A/hrc/19/68



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Widespread or Systematic:44 Widespread has long been defined as encompassing “the large scale nature of the attack, which should be massive, frequent, carried out collectively with considerable seriousness and directed against a multiplicity of victims”.45 As such, the element refers to both the large-scale nature of the attack and the number of resultant victims. The assessment is neither exclusively quantitative, nor geographical, but must be carried out on the basis of the individual facts. Accordingly, a widespread attack may be the “cumulative effect of a series of inhumane acts or the singular effect of an inhumane act of extraordinary magnitude”.46

  • The ICC Pre-Trial Chamber in its Decision to open an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Kenya, held that “in contrast to the large-scale character of "widespread", the term "systematic" refers to the "organised nature of the acts of violence and the improbability of their random occurrence". An attack's systematic nature can "often be expressed through patterns of crimes, in the sense of non-accidental repetition of similar criminal conduct on a regular basis." The Chamber notes that the "systematic" element has been defined by the ICTR as (i) being thoroughly organised, (ii) following a regular pattern, (iii) on the basis of a common policy, and (iv) involving substantial public or private resources, whilst the ICTY has determined that the element requires (i) a political objective or plan, (ii) large-scale or continuous commission of crimes which are linked, (iii) use of significant public or private resources, and (iv) the implication of high-level political and/or military authorities”.47



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