On Friday, March 9th, a diverse group of participants gathered at Matrix Chambers in London to discuss the International Law Commission’s 2017 Draft Articles on Crimes Against Humanity. These Draft Articles, which were submitted to the General Assembly in fall 2017, mark an important step towards achieving a new global convention on preventing and punishing crimes against humanity. Organized by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Matrix Chambers, and Redress, the workshop brought together 25 participants to engage in in-depth discussions on specific elements of the draft treaty. Participants also offered support for the overall goal of enhancing global protections and cooperation on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.
The UN International Law Commission completed a first reading of Draft Articles in summer 2017 and is now accepting comments from governments, international organizations, civil society, and others until December 1, 2018. Comments to the Secretary-General can be submitted in a form of a letter addressed to the UN Legal Counsel and sent by e-mail to the Director of the UN Codification Division, Mr. Huw Llewellyn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The ILC will complete a second reading of the Draft Articles in 2019, after which a new treaty may be adopted by the UN General Assembly or a diplomatic conference in 2019 or 2020. Workshops on the topic with members of civil society, like the one in London, are a crucial step towards this goal.