EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON THE
NON-APPLICABILITY OF STATUTORY
LIMITATIONS TO CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
AND WAR CRIMES
Opened for signature at Strasbourg, 25 January 1974
INTRODUCTORY NOTE: The attempts of the Council of Europe to adopt a convention on the non-applicability of statutory limitations to crimes against humanity preceded those of the United Nations. When the United Nations took up the question in 1965, the Council of Europe suspended its efforts. The UN Convention, however, which was adopted on 26 November 1968 (No. 106), seemed unacceptable to most members of the Council of Europe because of its broad definition of “crimes against humanity”. The present Convention uses a narrower definition and, unlike the UN Convention, limits its applicability to cases for which the statutory limitation period has not expired at the time of the entry into force of it.
ENTRY INTO FORCE: Not yet in force.
AUTHENTIC TEXTS: English, French. The text reproduced below is reprinted from European Treaty Series — No. 82.
TEXT PUBLISHED IN: European Treaty Series — No. 82 (Engl., French); Council of Europe, European Conventions and Agreements, Vol. III, 1972–1974, Strasbourg, 1975, pp. 212–215 (Engl., French); ILM, Vol. Xffl, No. 3, May 1974, pp. 540–543 (Engl.); Droit des conflits armés, pp. 1331–1334 (French). Websites: Council of Europe: http://conventions.coe.int, (Engl., French); ICRC: www. icrc.org/ihl.nsf (Engl., French, Span.).
The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,
Considering the necessity to safeguard human dignity in time of war and in time of peace;
Considering mat crimes against humanity and the most serious violations of the laws and customs of war constitute a serious infraction of human dignity;
Concerned in consequence to ensure that the punishment of tiiose crimes is not prevented by statutory limitations whemer in relation to prosecution or to the enforcement of the punishment;
Considering the essential interest in promoting a common criminal policy in this field, the aim of the Council of Europe being to achieve a greater unity between its Members,
Have agreed as follows:
Article 1. Each Contracting State undertakes to adopt any necessary measures to secure tbat statutory limitation shall not apply to the prosecution of the fol