WP7. Clarifying the grey zone between internal human rights abuses and crimes against humanity (VUB)
Work package 7 will broaden the central research question toward the fuzzy borders of human rights law. The research will add to the integrated view of human rights by focusing on a topical subject of great interest that is a perfect example of the deep interconnection between International Human Rights Law on the one hand, and International Criminal Law on the other, namely the law on crimes against humanity. Over time, the category of crimes against humanity has become the criminal law response to gross violations of human rights. This made it vulnerable to challenges of being too vague and over-inclusive and thereby in violation of the fundamental criminal law principle of nullum crimen sine lege. It engendered a debate on the raison d’être, the outer limits and boundaries of the law on crimes against humanity. The research will focus on one issue in particular that is essential to draw a demarcation line between crimes against humanity and ‘ordinary’ human rights abuses, and thus the role and scope of international criminal law, namely the concept of ‘organizational policy’ in the context of a crime against humanity, as enshrined in Article 7(2)(a) of the ICC Statute.