Thesis: Crimes against Humanity versus Civil Action

Sample Thesis Paper

When we speak of crimes against humanity, we are of course referring to actions which infringe on the rights of human beings resulting in the loss of their dignity. What separates this from normal crimes though is the fact that these acts are sanctioned by a recognized government or authority. Thus, it becomes clear that the only way to level these charges upon terrorist groups operating worldwide is to do so to the governments and leaders who sanction these actions.

Whether they are presidents or merely undersecretaries, any politicians and government officials who sanction the loss of human life can be brought to trial under the crimes against humanity legislation. The problem with this form of justice is that the International Criminal Court which conducts these trails cannot do so without the consent of the United Nations. Additionally, they cannot do so when it concerns members outside their nation. However, it does have the advantage of prosecuting individuals if their country of origin refuses to do so (Goldstone & Simpson, 2003).

By contrast relying upon civil action against the accused does have some advantages. There are certain countries which have universal jurisdiction such as Belgium, Germany and Spain, who can try individuals from any country. However, there is a danger that civil courts who try their own citizens may be too lenient in comparison. Finally, the option of military tribunals can also be taken by countries at the risk of shrouding the proceedings in secrecy and earning the distrust of the public (Goldstone & Simpson, 2003).

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