ABA House of Delegates Adopts Resolution on Crimes Against Humanity; Report Cites Law School Initiative’s Model Treaty

At its recent 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston, the American Bar Association House of Delegates, the policy-making body of the ABA, adopted Resolution 300 on the prevention of crimes against humanity. In the resolution, the ABA urged the United States government to take an active role in the negotiation and adoption of a new global convention for the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity. 

The report of the ABA Center for Human Rights, which sponsored the resolution, highlighted the urgent need for and current momentum toward the negotiation of a comprehensive convention on the punishment and prevention of crimes against humanity. The Center’s report also cited the Proposed International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity, a model treaty drafted by the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative at Washington University School of Law. Since its launch in 2008 by Leila Sadat, the Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law and director of the Whitney R. Harris World Law Institute at Washington University, the Initiative has brought together hundreds of experts in the study, drafting, and promotion of the Proposed Convention. Washington University School of Law also worked with the ABA Center for Human Rights on the preparation of the report.

The ABA House of Delegates is composed of 560 members representing state and local bar associations, ABA entities, and ABA-affiliated organizations.

"It is encouraging to see the goal of a global treaty on crimes against humanity endorsed by the broader legal community,” said Professor Sadat who has been working with civil society to continue building support for an international convention on crimes against humanity. "The ABA’s support reflects a growing understanding that a new convention is urgently needed."

According to the Center’s report, “by encouraging the United States government to implement domestic legislation as well as support a comprehensive international convention, the ABA would (1) encourage clarity, consistency, and enforceability of established legal principles; (2) promote international dialogue and cooperation; and (3) strengthen human rights globally."