1973 UN Convention on Apartheid as a Crime Against Humanity
United Nations |
15 May 2018
Among the initial signatories were Algeria, the GDR, Syria, the USSR, Iraq, Rwanda and Uganda
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
G.A. res. 3068 (XXVIII)), 28 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 30) at 75, U.N. Doc. A/9030 (1974), 1015 U.N.T.S. 243, entered into force July 18, 1976.
The States Parties to the present Convention,
Recalling the provisions of the Charter of the United Nations, in which all Members pledged themselves to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the Organization for the achievement of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,
Considering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour or national origin,
Considering the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, in which the General Assembly stated that the process of liberation is irresistible and irreversible and that, in the interests of human dignity, progress and justice, an end must be put to colonialism and all practices of segregation and discrimination associated therewith,
Observing that, in accordance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, States particularly condemn racial segregation and apartheid and undertake to prevent, prohibit and eradicate all practices of this nature in territories under their jurisdiction,
Observing that, in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, certain acts which may also be qualified as acts of apartheid constitute a crime under international law,
Observing that, in the Convention on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity, "inhuman acts resulting from the policy of apartheid" are qualified as crimes against humanity, Observing that the General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted a number of resolutions in which the policies and practices of apartheid are condemned as a crime against humanity,
Observing that the Security Council has emphasized that apartheid and its continued intensification and expansion seriously disturb and threaten international peace and security, Convinced that an International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid would make it possible to take more effective measures at the international and national levels with a view to the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid, Have agreed as follows:
1. The States Parties to the present Convention declare that apartheid is a crime against humanity and that inhuman acts resulting from the policies and practices of apartheid and similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination, as defined in article II of the Convention, are crimes violating the principles of international law, in particular the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and constituting a serious threat to international peace and security.
2. The States Parties to the present Convention declare criminal those organizations, institutions and individuals committing the crime of apartheid.
For the purpose of the present Convention, the term "the crime of apartheid", which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in southern Africa, shall apply to the following inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them:
(a)Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:
(i)By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
(ii)By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(iii)By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;
(b)Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;
(c)Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country and the deliberate creation of conditions preventing the full development of such a group or groups, in particular by denying to members of a racial group or groups basic human rights and freedoms, including the right to work, the right to form recognized trade unions, the right to education, the right to leave and to return to their country, the right to a nationality, the right to freedom of movement and residence, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association;
d) Any measures including legislative measures, designed to divide the population along racial lines by the creation of separate reserves and ghettos for the members of a racial group or groups, the prohibition of mixed marriages among members of various racial groups, the expropriation of landed property belonging to a racial group or groups or to members thereof;
(e)Exploitation of the labour of the members of a racial group or groups, in particular by submitting them to forced labour;
(f)Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.
International criminal responsibility shall apply, irrespective of the motive involved, to individuals, members of organizations and institutions and representatives of the State, whether residing in the territory of the State in which the acts are perpetrated or in some other State, whenever they:
(a)Commit, participate in, directly incite or conspire in the commission of the acts mentioned in article II of the present Convention;
(b)Directly abet, encourage or co-operate in the commission of the crime of apartheid.
The States Parties to the present Convention undertake:
(a)To adopt any legislative or other measures necessary to suppress as well as to prevent any encouragement of the crime of apartheid and similar segregationist policies or their manifestations and to punish persons guilty of that crime;
(b)To adopt legislative, judicial and administrative measures to prosecute, bring to trial and punish in accordance with their jurisdiction persons responsible for, or accused of, the acts defined in article II of the present Convention, whether or not such persons reside in the territory of the State in which the acts are committed or are nationals of that State or of some other State or are stateless persons.
Persons charged with the acts enumerated in article II of the present Convention may be tried by a competent tribunal of any State Party to the Convention which may acquire jurisdiction over the person of the accused or by an international penal tribunal having jurisdiction with respect to those States Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction.
The States Parties to the present Convention undertake to accept and carry out in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations the decisions taken by the Security Council aimed at the prevention, suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid, and to co-operate in the implementation of decisions adopted by other competent organs of the United Nations with a view to achieving the purposes of the Convention.
1.The States Parties to the present Convention undertake to submit periodic reports to the group established under article IX on the legislative, judicial, administrative or other measures that they have adopted and that give effect to the provisions of the Convention.
2. Copies of the reports shall be transmitted through the Secretary-General of the United Nations to the Special Committee on Apartheid.
Any State Party to the present Convention may call upon any competent organ of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as it considers appropriate for the prevention and suppression of the crime of apartheid.
1.The Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights shall appoint a group consisting of three members of the Commission on Human Rights, who are also representatives of States Parties to the present Convention, to consider reports submitted by States Parties in accordance with article VII.
2.If, among the members of the Commission on Human Rights, there are no representatives of States Parties to the present Convention or if there are fewer than three such representatives, the Secretary-General of the United Nations shall, after consulting all States Parties to the Convention, designate a representative of the State Party or representatives of the States Parties which are not members of the Commission on Human Rights to take part in the work of the group established in accordance with paragraph 1 of this article, until such time as representatives of the States Parties to the Convention are elected to the Commission on Human Rights.
3.The group may meet for a period of not more than five days, either before the opening or after the closing of the session of the Commission on Human Rights, to consider the reports submitted in accordance with article VII.
1 . The States Parties to the present Convention empower the Commission on Human Rights:
(a)To request United Nations organs, when transmitting copies of petitions under article 15 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, to draw its attention to complaints concerning acts which are enumerated in article II of the present Convention;
(b)To prepare, on the basis of reports from competent organs of the United Nations and periodic reports from States Parties to the present Convention, a list of individuals, organizations, institutions and representatives of States which are alleged to be responsible for the crimes enumerated in article II of the Convention, as well as those against whom legal proceedings have been undertaken by States Parties to the Convention;
(c)To request information from the competent United Nations organs concerning measures taken by the authorities responsible for the administration of Trust and Non-Self-Governing Territories, and all other Territories to which General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV) of 14 December 1960 applies, with regard to such individuals alleged to be responsible for crimes under article II of the Convention who are believed to be under their territorial and administrative jurisdiction.
2. Pending the achievement of the objectives of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, contained in General Assembly resolution 1514 (XV), the provisions of the present Convention shall in no way limit the right of petition granted to those peoples by other international instruments or by the United Nations and its specialized agencies.
1. Acts enumerated in article II of the present Convention shall not be considered political crimes for the purpose of extradition.
2. The States Parties to the present Convention undertake in such cases to grant extradition in accordance with their legislation and with the treaties in force.
Disputes between States Parties arising out of the interpretation, application or implementation of the present Convention which have not been settled by negotiation shall, at the request of the States parties to the dispute, be brought before the International Court of Justice, save where the parties to the dispute have agreed on some other form of settlement.
The present Convention is open for signature by all States. Any State which does not sign the Convention before its entry into force may accede to it.
1. The present Convention is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2. Accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of accession with the Secretary- General of the United Nations.
1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.
2.For each State ratifying the present Convention or acceding to it after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or instrument of accession, the Convention shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of the deposit of its own instrument of ratification or instrument of accession.
A State Party may denounce the present Convention by written notification to the Secretary- General of the United Nations. Denunciation shall take effect one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
1. A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any time by any State Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
2.The General Assembly of the United Nations shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such request.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall inform all States of the following particulars:
(a)Signatures, ratifications and accessions under articles XIII and XIV;
(b)The date of entry into force of the present Convention under article XV;
(c)Denunciations under article XVI;
(d)Notifications under article XVII.
1.The present Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
2.The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall transmit certified copies of the present Convention to all States.
(Unless otherwise indicated, the declarations and reservations were made upon ratification, accession or succession.)
Declaration: It is the understanding of the Argentine Republic that article XII of the Convention should be interpreted to mean that its express consent shall be required in order for any dispute to which it is a party and which has not been settled by negotiation to be brought before the International Court of Justice.
Reservation: "The accession by the State of Bahrain to the said Convention shall in no way constitute recognition of Israel or be a cause for the establishment of any relations of any kind therewith."
"The Government of the Republic of India accede to the said Convention with effect from 17 August 1977."
Ratification by the Republic of Iraq of the above Convention shall in no way imply recognition of Israel, or be conducive to the establishment of such relations therewith as may be provided for in the Convention.
"It is understood that the Accession of the State of Kuwait [. . .] does not mean in any way recognition of Israel by the State of Kuwait."
The People's Republic of Mozambique interprets article 12 of the Convention as to mean that the submission of any dispute concerning the interpretation and application of the Convention to the International Court of Justice shall be at the previous consent and request of all the parties to the dispute.
"The Constitution of Nepal contains provisions for the protection of individual rights, including the right to freedom of speech and expression, the right to form unions and associations not motivated by party politics and the right to freedom of professing his/her own religion; and nothing in the Convention shall be deemed to require or to authorize legislation or other action by Nepal incompatible with the provisions of the Constitution of Nepal. "His Majesty's Government interprets article 4 of the said Convention as requiring a Party to the Convention to adopt further legislative measures in the fields covered by sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of that article only insofar as His Majesty's Government may consider, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that some legislative addition to, or variation of, existing law and practice in those fields is necessary for the attainment of the end specified in the earlier part of article 4. "His Majesty's Government does not consider itself bound by the provision of article 12 of the Convention under which any dispute between two or more States Parties with respect to the interpretation or application of the Convention is, at the request of any of the parties to the dispute, to be referred to the International Court of Justice for decision."
Republic of Moldova
Reservation: Until the full establishment of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldova, the provisions of the Convention will be applied only on the territory effectively controlled by the authorities of the Republic of Moldova.
United Arab Emirates
"The ratification of the United Arab Emirates to this Convention shall in no way amount to recognition of nor the establishment of any treaty relations with Israel."
Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
With a reservation excluding the provisions of article XII of the Convention.
The accession of the Government of the Yemen Arab Republic to this Convention shall in no way imply recognition of Israel or the establishment of such relations therewith as may be provided for in the Convention.
The German Democratic Republic had signed and ratified the Convention on 2 May 1974 and 12 August 1974 (See C.N.216.1974.TREATIES-9), respectively. See also note 2 under “Germany” in the “Historical Information” section in the front matter of this volume.
The former Yugoslavia had signed and ratified the Convention on 17 December 1974 and 1 July 1975, respectively. See also note 1 under "Bosnia and Herzegovina", "Croatia", "former Yugoslavia", "Slovenia", "The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" and "Yugoslavia" in the "Historical Information" section in the front matter of this volume.
The Secretary-General received, on 10 September 1981 from the Government of Viet Nam, the following objection with regard to the accession of Democratic Kampuchea:
"The accession to the above-mentioned international Convention on behalf of the so-called `Government of Kampuchea' by the genocidal clique of Pol Pot-Ieng Sary-Khieu Samphan, which was overthrown on 7 January 1979 by the Kampuchean people, is completely illegal and has no legal value. Only the Government of the People's Republic of Kampuchea, which is actually in power in Kampuchea, is empowered to represent the Kampuchea people and to sign and accede to international agreements and conventions.
As a party to that Convention, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is of the opinion that the accession of the so-called `Government of Democratic Kampuchea' constitutes not only a gross violation of the standards of law and international morality, but also one of the most cynical affronts to the three million Kampucheans who are the victims of the most despicable crime of contemporary history, committed by the Pol Pot régime which is spurned by the whole of mankind."
Thereafter, similar communications objecting to the signature by Democratic Kampuchea were received by the Secretary-General on 14 September 1981 from the Government of the German Democratic Republic, on 12 November 1981 from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, on 19 November 1981 from the Government of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, on 3 December 1981 from the Government of Hungary, on 5 January 1982 from the Government of Bulgaria, on 13 January 1982 from the Government of Mongolia, and on 17 May 1982 from the Government of Czechoslovakia.
Czechoslovakia had signed and ratified the Convention on 29 August 1975 and 25 March 1976, respectively. See also note 1 under “Czech Republic” and note 1 under “Slovakia” in the “Historical Information” section in the front matter of this volume.
See note 1 under "Montenegro" in the "Historical Information" section in the front matter of this volume.
See note 1 under “Namibia” in the “Historical Information” section in the front matter of this volume.
Democratic Yemen had signed the Convention on 31 July 1974 (See, C.N.203.1974.TREATIES-8 of 19 August 1974). See also note 1 under “Yemen” in the “Historical Information” section in the front matter of this volume.
Upon accession, the Government of Egypt had formulated a declaration concerning Israel. For the text of the declaration, see United Nations, Treaty Series , vol. 1045, p. 397. In this regard, the Secretary-General received, on 30 August 1977, a declaration from the Government of Israel identical in essence, mutatis mutandis , as the one made with regard to the accession by Kuwait (see note 9 ).
Subsequently, in a notification received on 18 January 1980, the Government of Egypt informed the Secretary-General that it had decided to withdraw the declaration. The notification indicates 25 January 1980 as the effective date of the withdrawal.
The Secretary-General received, on 12 May 1977 from the Government of Israel, the following communication:
"The instrument deposited by the Government of Kuwait contains a statement of a political character in respect to Israel. In the view of the Government of Israel, this is not the proper place for making such political pronouncements, which are, moreover, in flagrant contradiction to the principles, objects and purposes of the Organization. That pronouncement by the Government of Kuwait cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon Kuwait under general international law or under particular treaties. The Government of Israel will, insofar as concerns the substance of the matter, adopt towards the Government of Kuwait an attitude of complete reciprocity."
A communication identical in essence, mutatis mutandis , was received by the Secretary-General from the Government of Israel, on 15 December 1987, in respect of the declaration made upon accession by Yemen.
Additional document: Text of the UN General Assembly resolution equating Zionism with racism (repealed by the UN General Assembly in 1991):
RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY [on the report of the Third Committee (A/10320)]
3379 (XXX). Elimination of all forms of racial discrimination
The General Assembly,
Recalling its resolution 1904 (XVIII) of 20 November 1963, proclaiming the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and in particular its affirmation that "any doctrine of racial differentiation or superiority is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous" and its expression of alarm at "the manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas in the world, some of which are imposed by certain Governments by means of legislative, administrative or other measures",
Recalling also that, in its resolution 3151 G (XXVIII) of 14 December 1973, the General Assembly condemned, inter alia, the unholy alliance between South African racism and zionism,
Taking note of the Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and Their Contribution to Development and Peace, 1/ proclaimed by the World Conference of the International Women's Year, held at Mexico City from 19 June to 2 July 1975, which promulgated the principle that "international co-operation and peace require the achievement of national liberation and independence, the elimination of colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, zionism, apartheid and racial discrimination in all its forms, as well as the recognition of the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination",
Taking note also of resolution 77 (XII) adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity at its twelfth ordinary session,2/ hold at Kampala from 28 July to 1 August 1975, which considered "that the racist regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regimes in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being",
Taking note also of the Political Declaration and Strategy to Strengthen International Peace and Security and to Intensify Solidarity and Mutual Assistance among Non-Aligned Countries,3/ adopted at the Conference of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Non-Aligned Countries held at Lima from 25 to 30 August 1975, which most severely condemned zionism as a threat to world peace and security and called upon all countries to oppose this racist and imperialist ideology,
Determines that zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.