A crime against humanity can be described as an act which takes place either as a portion of a widespread attack or a systemic one on a population of civilians. A systemic attack is one which is devoid of any randomness and is carried out in an organized manner. A widespread attack is, on the other hand, one which is aimed at having many casualties and occurs on a large scale. These acts include forceful population transfer, sexual slavery. Unlawful imprisonment, murder, deportation, sexual violence, racial discrimination, enslavement, torture, massacres, human experimentation, use of death squads and extrajudicial killings and the use of weapons of mass destruction.
The International Criminal Court was founded in 2002 to be used to bring justice to those who have been victims of crimes against humanity and war crimes. Most of these crimes are usually punished by either death or long-term imprisonment for the perpetrators. Given this, the punishment should not be as a result of hatred or be used to further and promote political agendas in the affected region. It should be part of the international criminal responsibility of the court. This punishment can be well demonstrated by looking at the Nuremberg trials. There were a lot of legal and practical hurdles as it was the first one of its kind. It took place after the Second World War. Any earlier interventions and trials had been conducted per the rules and regulations of one country instead of as a group of countries with different constitutions and legal practices. The crimes were split into two groups. These are crimes against humanity and crimes against peace. Hannah Arendt explains this grouping further by stating that there can be crimes against human status which explains the crimes that are committed against human diversity and uniqueness. She also talks about crimes against the nature of man. The second one refers to the set of individuals. The Nuremberg trials were an attempt at punishing those who had taken part in crimes against humanity and also to serve as an example to the rest of the world. The Trial of Major War Criminals is famous among the Nuremberg trials. Twenty-four people and six Nazi organizations were indicted. Of these people, one committed suicide before the trial begun and one was unwell. The Holocaust during the war had a lot of victims. The bystanders, however, had a critical role to play during World War 2 as they were witnesses whose reactions shaped the outcome of events that took place especially when the Jews were being mistreated and killed. Many people, however, claimed that they were not aware of the various horrors and atrocities that were happening.
The war had effects on both the combatants and the civilians. The effects on combatants were present because, in some scenarios, civilians took up arms and became combatants. This exposed them to the harsh conditions of war and even led to the demise of some inexperienced combatants. Ordinary civilians who were non-combatants also had a rough time, and some of them even lost their lives. A lot of crimes against humanity occurred, and human rights were violated. Most of the victims of these violations were ordinary civilians. Some people also risked their lives and went to great lengths to protect the Jews.
In the period after the war, a declaration was signed which stated that when there is an armistice, the perpetrators of war crimes were to be taken back to the countries they are accused of them to face the law in that country. Most of the trials involved low-level officials. There is, however, no merit in saying that an act of mass murder occurred as a result of one just following orders that were issued.
The existing mechanisms for punishing these crimes needs to follow the law and be impartial in executing the judgment. There is hope that one day these problems will be a thing of the past and human rights will be respected.
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