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Archishop Gabriele Caccia at the United Nations (Vatican Media)

The Holy See’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations in New York, Archbishop Gabriele Caccia, has called for more effective international measures to combat crimes against humanity. Source: Vatican News.

Addressing the Sixth Committee, Resumed Session of the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Archbishop Caccia highlighted the longstanding recognition of crimes against humanity as international crimes within customary international law.

Archbishop Caccia emphasised that “the International Law Commission (ILC) has rightly said that the prohibition of these crimes is indeed a peremptory norm of international law”.

He further highlighted the necessity of a “universal, multilateral, legally binding instrument, codifying the existing customary law in this area,” which he says would promote international cooperation in the prevention and punishment of these “heinous acts”.

In his address, Archbishop Caccia recalled the words of Pope Francis, stating, “the dignity of others is to be respected in all circumstances”.

He emphasised the essential role of human dignity, the foundation of all human rights, in addressing crimes against humanity.

Turning then to the draft instrument, Archbishop Caccia proposed amendments to strengthen its efficacy.

“While the dual purpose of the new instrument is to prevent and punish crimes against humanity, the draft does not contain an explicit reference to the former aim” he noted, before suggesting incorporating a reference to human dignity in preambular paragraph nine. Such an addition, he said, would provide a more robust interpretative framework for the Draft Articles.

Furthermore, he advocated for explicit acknowledgment of the imperative of prevention in the preamble.


Holy See: Strengthened measures against crimes against humanity required (By Francesca Merlo, Vatican News)