The ‘Gänseliesel’ (Goose Girlis), a historical fountain erected in 1901, represents the most well-known landmark of the city of Goettingen.

Humaneness, Humankind and Crimes against Humanity

Bernhard Kuschnik



Due to its vagueness, the notion of humanity has created some discomfort within the system of international criminal law ever since it was codified as a legally binding concept in the mid 1940's. In Prosecutor v. Kantanga/Chui, the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has recently given its own interpretation of the term. The Chamber claimed that the related provision of 'other inhumane acts' is more strictly construed in the ICC Statute than in previous Statutes of the ICTY and ICTR, and cannot be regarded as a catch all provision, and should predominantly be interpreted from the wording of the provision. The author argues in this article that a broad interpretation of 'other inhumane acts' pursuant to Article 7(i)(k) ICC Statute is required. The notions of humanity and 'other inhumane acts' should be concretized by relying closely on the legal historical and linguistic roots of the provision. Coming from this analysis, it is suggested that a serious injury of human dignity should count as an 'other inhumane act' and thus, as a crime against humanity.


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