HomeChurch in ActionHoly See calls for enhanced global framework to combat crimes against humanity 

Holy See calls for enhanced global framework to combat crimes against humanity 

Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations, called for reinforced measures to combat crimes against humanity. 

Speaking at the Resumed Session of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, the prelate highlighted the importance of human dignity and prevention efforts.

He pointed out the recognition of crimes against humanity as international crimes within customary international law, referencing the International Law Commission’s (ILC) statement that the prohibition of these crimes is a peremptory norm of international law. 

He advocated for a “universal, multilateral, legally binding instrument” to codify existing customary law, aiming to enhance international cooperation in preventing and punishing these acts.

Referencing Pope Francis, Archbishop Caccia emphasized that “the dignity of others is to be respected in all circumstances,” highlighting human dignity as the foundation of human rights and the battle against crimes against humanity.

Archbishop Caccia proposed amendments to increase the effectiveness of the draft instrument designed to combat such crimes.

He noted the lack of an explicit reference to prevention and suggested adding a reference to human dignity in the preambular paragraph for a stronger interpretative framework. 

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He also called for an explicit acknowledgment of the prevention imperative in the preamble and stressed that “the definition of crimes against humanity must also be deeply rooted in customary international law.”

“Sovereign interests can never justify crimes against humanity,” said Archbishop Caccia. 

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