War, Crimes against Humanity, and the New Humanities: Derrida and the Promise of Europe

  • Michael A. Peters


The history of the concept of “crimes against humanity” is of recent origin dating from the immediate aftermath of World War II and the so-called London Agreement of August 8 1945, which served to establish a uniform legal basis in Germany for the prosecution of war criminals and other similar offenders, other than those dealt with by the International Military Tribunal. It was adopted thereafter as the basis for Principle VI of the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal in 1950, which provided substantial definitions in international law, for the first time, of crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.1 The principles of the Charter were affirmed by the General Assembly and adopted by the International Law Commission (ILC), which was also invited to consider the drafting of a proposal for an international body or tribunal— the International Criminal Court that became established over 50 years later, without ratification by the United States. The notion of genocide is also a recent concept, which was first defined in an addendum to the Geneva Convention in 1977, also a convention that the United States refused to sign.2


European Union United Nations International Criminal Court International Criminal Rome Statute 
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© Peter Pericles Trifonas and Michael A. Peters 2005

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  • Michael A. Peters

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