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  Durbin, Leahy and Feingold Introduce Legislation Making Crimes Against Humanity a Violation of US Law
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ContributorCraverguy 
Last EditedCraverguy  Jun 25, 2009 02:23am
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CategoryPress Release
News DateThursday, June 25, 2009 02:30:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionAssistant Senate Majority Leader and Chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, Dick Durbin (D-IL), introduced the Crimes Against Humanity Act today - legislation that would make it a violation of U.S. law to commit a crime against humanity. This legislation is needed to ensure that perpetrators of the worst human rights violations do not find safe haven in our country.

“The United States led the first prosecutions for crimes against humanity in the Nuremberg trials, following the Second World War,” Durbin said. “These horrible crimes, however, are still taking place. Our promise to hold accountable those who commit the most unspeakable crimes will ring hollow unless we lead the world in punishing those responsible for the gravest human rights violations.”

A crime against humanity is any widespread and systematic attack directed against a civilian population that involves murder, enslavement, torture, rape, arbitrary detention, extermination, hostage taking or ethnic cleansing.

Despite longstanding U.S. support for the prosecution of crimes against humanity perpetrated in World War II, Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone, among other places, there is no U.S. law prohibiting crimes against humanity. As a result, the U.S. government is unable to prosecute perpetrators of these crimes found in our country – in contrast to other human rights violations, including genocide and torture. Today’s legislation seeks to close that loophole, allowing the government to prosecute those who have committed these crimes.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined Durbin as original cosponsors of the legislation.
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