Little Progress in the Sixth Committee on Crimes Against Humanity

20 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2022 Last revised: 10 Sep 2022

See all articles by Leila N. Sadat

Leila N. Sadat

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law; Yale Law School

Date Written: January 3, 2022


This essay takes up the work of the UN Sixth Committee to date on crimes against humanity. It offers the first comprehensive tabulation of States’ positions, an analysis of the work accomplished thus far, and suggests a potential roadmap for advancing the adoption of a new global treaty on crimes against humanity. The essay notes the substantial progress made by the International Law Commission in the development and shaping of the proposed draft treaty as well as the substantial support the ILC’s work has attracted from States. At the same time, it underscores the disappointing outcome of this year’s negotiations, which once again resulted in a stalemate because of a “pocket veto” that allowed a tiny handful of States to block forward movement. It concludes that States and members of civil society must work assiduously in 2022 to complete this much needed treaty.

Keywords: crimes against humanity; Nuremberg trials; international criminal law; customary international law; jus cogens; genocide; international criminal courts and tribunals; United Nations Sixth Committee; General Assembly

Suggested Citation

Sadat, Leila N., Little Progress in the Sixth Committee on Crimes Against Humanity (January 3, 2022). Washington University in St. Louis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 22-01-01, Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law, Vol. 54, No. 1, 2022, Available at SSRN:

Leila N. Sadat (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314-935-6411 (Phone)
314-935-5356 (Fax)

Yale Law School ( email )

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New Haven, CT 06510
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3143042757 (Phone)

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