Exactly what types of obligations of States fall within the realm of “prevention” of atrocities, such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity? It could generally be thought that some types of obligations are directly connected to prevention (obligations of prevention), while others are of a different nature, though bearing upon the issue of prevention (obligations relating to prevention). Based on a review of major multilateral treaties, this essay identifies six key obligations of States that relate, directly or indirectly, to the prevention of atrocities. Such obligations were deemed essential for inclusion in the International Law Commission’s 2019 articles on prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity.
GW Paper Series
Murphy, Sean D., “Codifying the Obligations of States Relating to the Prevention of Atrocities, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, vol. 52, p. 27 (forthcoming 2020).