Initiative Fact Sheet

The Crimes Against Humanity Initiative was launched in 2008 to study the need for a comprehensive convention on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity, analyze the necessary elements of such a convention, and draft a proposed treaty.

The Initiative is directed by a six-member Steering Committee composed of:             
Professor Leila Nadya Sadat
, Chair
Ambassador Hans Corell
Justice Richard Goldstone
Professor Juan Méndez
Professor William Schabas
Judge Christine Van den Wyngaert

The Initiative has progressed in phases, the first three of which have been completed:

  • Phase I: Preparation of the project and methodological development;
  • Phase II: Private study of the problem through the commission of working papers by leading experts and collaborative discussion of draft treaty language at expert meetings in St. Louis and The Hague; and
  • Phase III: Public discussion of the project through written consultation with additional experts and at an international conference convened in Washington, D.C.; adoption of the Proposed International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity; publication of Forging a Convention for Crimes Against Humanity (Leila Nadya Sadat, ed., 2nd ed. Cambridge 2013), which contains the Proposed Convention in English, French, and Spanish, the papers commissioned in Phase II and a Comprehensive History of the Initiative.
  • Phase IV: Promotion of the strengths and innovations of the Proposed Convention, which has now been translated into Arabic, Chinese, German, Portuguese, and Russian in addition to French and Spanish; advocacy with members of the International Law Commission, academics, government officials, civil society representatives, and other stakeholders in the international community.

Generously funded by a leadership grant from Steven Cash Nickerson and by Humanity United and the United States Institute of Peace.

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