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ABA Center for Human Rights Forms Working Group on Crimes Against Humanity

The American Bar Association Center for Human Rights recently formed a working group to advocate for Crimes Against Humanity legislation.

Washington D.C., April 8, 2015 -The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights recently established the ABA Working Group on Crimes Against Humanity (CAH), a distinguished group of relevant leaders and experts who will spearhead the Association’s effort to implement its recent policy on CAH. In August 2014, the ABA House of Delegates unanimously passed a policy resolution that urged the US Congress to pass comprehensive domestic legislation prohibiting CAH, and also called on the US government to help forge an international CAH treaty as well.

CAH are criminal acts - such as murder, rape, torture, illegal imprisonment, ethnic cleansing, religious persecution - committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population. CAH can occur during peacetime or wartime. Currently, US law only outlaws the atrocity crimes of genocide and war crimes. One result of this glaring gap in US federal code is that it prevents the US government from prosecuting or extraditing for prosecution elsewhere any foreign nationals found in the United States who have committed CAH either abroad or on American soil. The US risks, therefore, becoming a safe haven for perpetrators of CAH.  The implementation of CAH legislation would close this legal loophole and allow for the option of prosecuting perpetrators of CAH.

Similarly, there is a need for an international CAH treaty, like those for genocide and war crimes, that will in turn bolster government cooperation in the fight to end impunity for CAH.

Chaired by former US Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, David Scheffer, the inaugural members of the ABA Working Group on CAH are as follows (alphabetical order):

Please find here additional information about the Working Group and CAH legislation.