The Policy Requirement in Crimes Against Humanity: Lessons from and for the Case of Kenya

42 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2011 Last revised: 23 Nov 2021

See all articles by Thomas Obel Hansen

Thomas Obel Hansen

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute; Charles III University of Madrid

Date Written: July 24, 2011


Article 7(2)(a) of the Rome Statute stipulates that crimes against humanity are pre-conditioned on the existence of an attack on a civilian population “pursuant to or in furtherance of a State or organizational policy to commit such attack”. This requirement has given rise to considerable controversy in the legal literature. This article examines how the provision has been applied by Pre-Trial Chamber II of the ICC in the two cases currently pending before the Chamber concerning Kenya’s post-election violence. The question of under what circumstances non-state actors may qualify as an organization in the meaning of article 7(2)(a) is elaborated significantly on in these cases. Further, the question of whether state actors can adopt an organizational policy is discussed in the Kenyan cases. The article critically reviews the practice of the ICC and seeks to establish new criteria for how article 7(2)(a) should be applied.

Keywords: Crimes against humanity, state or organizational policy, Kenya

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Thomas Obel, The Policy Requirement in Crimes Against Humanity: Lessons from and for the Case of Kenya (July 24, 2011). The Geo. Wash. Int’l L. Rev. vol. 43, no.1, 2011, pp. 1-42, Available at SSRN: or

Thomas Obel Hansen (Contact Author)

Ulster University - Transitional Justice Institute ( email )

Shore Road
Newtownabbey, County Antrim BT37 OQB
Northern Ireland

Charles III University of Madrid ( email )

CL. de Madrid 126
Madrid, Madrid 28903

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