Archive, Lectures

Mark Antaki


“Towards a Genealogy of Crimes Against Humanity”


Mark Antaki is an Assistant Professor at McGill University Faculty of Law and writes and teaches in Human Rights, Law, and political philosophy.

His talk touched on the following abstract written by Mark:

“How have we come to name certain human acts “crimes against humanity”?  Rather than take for granted the definition of crimes against humanity in positive international law, I argue that the idea of a “crime against humanity” has a pre-history. I will turn to events such as the trial of Louis XVI, a trial which signaled the transformation of the medieval tyrant into the modern criminal against humanity (and during which both Condorcet and Robespierre used the phrase “crime against humanity”). I also show how Christian charity was, around the same period, transformed into humanity or sympathy–a transformation that accompanied the re-naming of the laws of war as humanitarian law.”

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