The category of crimes against humanity is one of the four major international crimes together with genocide, war crimes and the crime of aggression. Although the concept of crimes against humanity has been recognized in international law since its inclusion in the Charter of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, the very idea of this crime still seems elusive. In order to properly understand its character, the analysis of its philosophical and doctrinal background will be conducted, with a special emphasis on circumstances that led to placing crimes against humanity among the charges during the Nuremberg trial. It is believed that it was Hersch Lauterpacht who contributed to this development, which may seem surprising, considering the fact that he had never taken up the issue of crimes against humanity in his research. Ethical and normative foundations of the concept can however be traced throughout his work in the field of international law.
Keywords: crimes against humanity, the Nuremberg trial, the Nuremberg Charter, the sovereignty principle, human rights.
This article is published in Polish