When can the persecution of Christians be considered as genocide or a crime against humanity?

A hypothetical study on the use of international criminal law to counteract impunity for religious persecution


  • Werner Nicolaas Nel


Genocide, crimes against humanity, International Criminal Court, combating impunity, international human rights, persecution of Christians, religious freedom


The right to freedom of religion is an undeniable human right prescribed and protected by the rule of law, but persecution restricts the exercise of religious freedom. In countries where Christians are persecuted, the domestic legal system is usually prejudicial and incompetent, and victims are left unprotected. In counteracting the impunity for religious persecution in the domestic arena of countries of serious concern, international criminal law may be used to prosecute individuals responsible for severe acts of persecution of Christians by classifying these acts as either a “crime against humanity of religious persecution” or “genocide by religious persecution” in terms of the Rome Statute.