Principles of International Co-Operation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

UNITED NATIONS, 11 Aug 2014

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – TRANSCEND Media Service

UNHRC OHCHR_CI

Adopted by General Assembly resolution 3074 (XXVIII) of 3 December 1973

The General Assembly ,

Recalling its resolutions 2583 (XXIV) of 15 December 1969, 2712 (XXV) of 15 December 1970, 2840 (XXVI) of 18 December 1971 and 3020 (XXVII) of 18 December 1972,

Taking into account the special need for international action in order to ensure the prosecution and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity,

Having considered the draft principles of international co-operation in the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity,

Declares that the United Nations, in pursuance of the principles and purposes set forth in the Charter concerning the promotion of co-operation between peoples and the maintenance of international peace and security, proclaims the following principles of international co-operation in the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity:

1. War crimes and crimes against humanity, wherever they are committed, shall be subject to investigation and the persons against whom there is evidence that they have committed such crimes shall be subject to tracing, arrest, trial and, if found guilty, to punishment.

2. Every State has the right to try its own nationals for war crimes against humanity.

3. States shall co-operate with each other on a bilateral and multilateral basis with a view to halting and preventing war crimes and crimes against humanity, and shall take the domestic and international measures necessary for that purpose.

4. States shall assist each other in detecting, arresting and bringing to trial persons suspected of having committed such crimes and, if they are found guilty, in punishing them.

5. Persons against whom there is evidence that they have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity shall be subject to trial and, if found guilty, to punishment, as a general rule in the countries in which they committed those crimes. In that connection, States shall co-operate on questions of extraditing such persons.

6. States shall co-operate with each other in the collection of information and evidence which would help to bring to trial the persons indicated in para-graph 5 above and shall exchange such information.

7. In accordance with article 1 of the Declaration on Territorial Asylum of 14 December 1967, States shall not grant asylum to any person with respect to whom there are serious reasons for considering that he has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity.

8. States shall not take any legislative or other measures which may be prejudicial to the international obligations they have assumed in regard to the detection, arrest, extradition and punishment of persons guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

9. In co-operating with a view to the detection, arrest and extradition of persons against whom there is evidence that they have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity and, if found guilty, their punishment, States shall act in conformity with the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and of the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

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2 Responses to “Principles of International Co-Operation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity”

  1. satoshi says:

    It may be considered that the above mentioned “Principles of International Co-Operation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity” is a supplement either to the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide” (i.e. CPPCG aka the Genocide Convention; see hrweb.org/legal/genocide.html and legal.un.org/avl/ha/cppcg/cppcg.html) or to the “Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity”. (See: treaties.un.org/doc/Treaties/1970/11/19701111%2002-40%20AM/Ch_IV_6p.pdf) In fact, the Principles covers relevant issues that neither of these Conventions stipulates. The Principles should be codified as a multinational treaty as soon as possible.

    Regarding CPPCG, “On December 9, 1948, by unanimous action of the U.N. General Assembly that draft was adopted as the Genocide Convention. Two days later (December 11th) President Harry Truman signed the treaty on behalf of the United States. Six months later (June 16, 1949) President Truman transmitted the treaty to the U.S. Senate and requested its advice and consent to ratification. In his transmittal message, President Truman said the General Assembly’s approval of the treaty was “one of the important achievements” of its first session and that the U.S. had played “a leading part” in that accomplishment. The Senate’s approval would demonstrate that the U.S. was “prepared to take effective action on its part to contribute to the establishment of principles of law and justice.” Such Senate action, however, did not happen until early 1986, and it was not ratified by the U.S. until late 1988 or nearly 40 years after its adoption by the U.N. General Assembly and its signature by the U.S.” (Quoted from dwkcommentaries.com/tag/genocide-implementation-act-of-1987/. For more about the attitude of the United States to CPPCG and to other relevant international human rights legal norms, visit that site.) What happened to the United States, allegedly the leader of human rights of the world (or not?), after Eleanor Roosevelt declared the UDHR on at the UN General Assembly, on December 10, 1948? (Be aware of the fact that the day before, on December 9, 1948, CPPCG was adopted by the UN General Assembly.)

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    One of the critically important things to be considered in implementing these norms as mentioned above is that human rights of the suspect/detainee/prisoner must also be observed. For instance, many of the prisoners in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp (hereafter written “Gitmo”) have not been proved to be guilty to this date. They were arrested somewhere in the world, taken to Gitmo and have been detained for years. Many of them (probably, all of them) have been tortured. They have been shown no validated proof to be pronounced that they are guilty. They have been denied to the access to the fair judicial procedure. Their human rights are virtually completely denied.

    That is a very sensitive issue in another way as well, however. Human rights of Radovan Karadžić and of Ratko Mladić, for example, should also be observed in accordance with relevant applicable human rights legal norms. Needless to say, they should also be assumed innocent until proven guilty (i.e. the principle of the presumption of innocent). The same thing can be said of human rights of Hitler and Stalin if they (or similar people who committed crimes against humanity or war crimes) are alive today. Even after proven guilty, they should be treated in accordance with relevant human rights legal norms.

    (By the way, why does the United States not extradite those prisoners of Gitmo to the International Criminal Court (ICC)? Is it simply because the United States is not a state party to the Rome Statute of the ICC? Well, if the United State becomes a state party to the Rome Statute, it might happen that some high ranking US government officials, both the current and former ones, will be indicted by the ICC. Therefore, some people argue about the “American exceptionalism”. In this regard, visit this website of Wikipedia: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_exceptionalism . On the other hand, however, see this article, “The Myth of American Exceptionalism”, by visiting the website of the Foreign Policy magazine: foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/10/11/the_myth_of_american_exceptionalism)

    In general, how much are those prisoners’ human rights respected in every country in the world? How are they treated as “persons presumed innocent until proven”, including those imprisoned in Gitmo, for instance? Unfortunately, even if they have such legal norm that stipulates the principle of presumed innocent, some countries rarely practice it. Then, how about the legal norms regarding the human rights of the prisoners whose crimes were proven guilty? Practice of criminal law could reveal the hidden and real standard of human rights of the State.

    There are more than several international/universal instruments on those issues. Some of them, among others, are as follows:
    – “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”,
    – “Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”,
    – “Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” (aka “CAT”),
    – Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment”,
    – “Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty”,
    – “Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials”,
    – “Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials”,
    – “Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers”,
    – “Basic Principles on the Role of Prosecutors”,
    and more.

    While emphasizing the imperative of the “Principles of International Co-Operation in the Detection, Arrest, Extradition and Punishment of Persons Guilty of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity”, I would also like to refer to the crucial importance of the “Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment” (See: un.org/documents/ga/res/43/a43r173.htm), and other relevant international/universal norms, mentioned above. This “Body of Principles” and other pertinent norms (some of which are mentioned above) should also be codified as multinational treaties (except “CAT” or the Convention against Torture, already a multinational treaty, also mentioned above) as soon as possible.

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    At the end of the day (and the beginning of the day as well), however, if everyone acts in accordance with the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood, it becomes either impossible or very difficult for anyone to commit crimes against humanity or war crimes. Let’s remember Article 1 of the UDHR, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

    Do not kill your brothers and sisters. Treat them the way you are treated by them. Respect them and help them. We help each other because we are all interdependent for our survival on this planet.

    The spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood is the alpha and omega of human rights. That is also the alpha and omega for the prevention of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Probably, that is the alpha and omega for the prevention of war as well. We, humans, have just begun to tread this almost infinitely long path of brotherhood and sisterhood, only a first few steps. It has still a long way to go. It might take centuries, millennia or more. Who knows? Some people may say, “That is just a dream.” But it is a dream to be achieved. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream that one day……” He also said, “We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters], or we will all perish together as fools.”

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    • Dear Satoshi, many thanks for the supplement info. The world needs to abide to these stipulations now more than ever before.

      It seems that most heads of the major states have become guilty of these horrendous crimes especially USA and EU. And they force their allies to be accomplices of their crimes.

      It should be unacceptable–if we want to become civilized some day.

      Best,
      Antonio