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Arcs of Global JusticeEssays in Honour of William A. Schabas$
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Margaret M. deGuzman and Diane Marie Amann

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190272654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190272654.001.0001

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Crimes against Humanity

Crimes against Humanity

Repairing Title 18’s Blind Spots

Chapter:
(p.341) 18 Crimes against Humanity
Source:
Arcs of Global Justice
Author(s):

Beth Van Schaack

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190272654.003.0019

This chapter identifies three unfortunate gaps in the United States’ federal penal code: The United States lacks a crimes against humanity statute, the war crimes statute has a limited jurisdictional reach and does not conform to US obligations under the Geneva Conventions, and the code lacks express mention of superior responsibility. These gaps significantly hinder the reach of the United States’ prosecutorial authorities and have led to instances of impunity, and incomplete accountability, where perpetrators within US jurisdiction cannot be prosecuted for their substantive crimes and must be dealt with through immigration and other remedies. The chapter then evaluates various proposed amendments to Title 18, drawing upon previous bills, international criminal law, and other federal statutes. It closes by arguing that discrete statutory amendments would enable the United States to exercise leadership in atrocities prevention and response without increasing the risk that US personnel will be subjected to litigation overseas.

Keywords:   crimes against humanity, war crimes, superior responsibility, universal jurisdiction, atrocities prevention

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