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International Criminal Court Act 2001

Section 51: Genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

90.This section is intended to incorporate the offences of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes as defined in the Statute into the law of England and Wales. Courts will have jurisdiction over these offences when committed in England and Wales, or when committed overseas by UK nationals, UK residents or persons subject to UK Service jurisdiction. (UK nationals, UK residents and persons subject to UK Service jurisdiction are defined in section 67.)

91.Subsection (1) establishes domestic offences of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Almost all of the acts falling within these definitions would already have been crimes if committed in the UK, although attracting different penalties from those provided for in this Act, but would generally not have been crimes if committed by UK nationals or UK residents overseas.

92.The crime of genocide was already an offence in domestic law by virtue of the Genocide Act 1969 but the jurisdiction provided for in that Act is more limited than is provided for in this Act. The Genocide Act is repealed under Schedule 10. Certain war crimes within the definition of Article 8 (notably, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions) also constituted existing domestic offences in identical terms. However, as the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 takes wider jurisdiction than this Act (and, by virtue of the Geneva Convention (Amendment) Act 1995, also covers grave breaches of Additional Protocol I of the Geneva Conventions), it remains in force subject to the amendments specified in section 70 (see paragraph 109 below).

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