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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The United Nations has been very closely linked to the development of international criminal law (ICL), including in the area of multilateral treaty-making. The UN General Assembly has been the forum for negotiations or preparation of most ICL treaties: from the Genocide Convention to the International Criminal Court Statute, and many other UN bodies (from the Secretariat to the Security Council, as well as the Economic and Social Council and the entire human rights machinery) have significantly contributed to the establishment and evolution of ICL. Moreover, the values protected through ICL enhance and reinforce some of the basic tenets of the UN Charter, including the prohibition of the use of armed force (reflected in the criminalization of aggression), as well as the protection and promotion of human rights (linked to the notion of crimes against humanity and war crimes). This chapter illustrates the historical developments of ICL and emphasizes the pivotal role of the UN in the implementation and further improvement of ICL.

Keywords: ICL, genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, international criminal law, treaties, ICC

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