Towards a Crimes Against Humanity Convention: A policy, practical, and personal agenda

Date and time
Wednesday, 19 January 2022
17.30 - 19.00


An inaugural lecture by Professor Gerhardus Kemp. 

Inaugural lecture: Professor Gerhardus Kemp

The drafting history of the proposed Crimes Against Humanity Convention is illustrative of the importance of principled legal discourse, civil society, pragmatism, and personal commitment in the creation of meaningful legal frameworks with real-life impact. The lecture explores these issues with reference to the presenter’s personal and professional experiences.

The lecture will explain the aims, content, and current status of the proposed Crimes Against Humanity Convention. The presenter’s personal and professional association with the Crimes Against Humanity Initiative will be highlighted. The process to advance the aims and content of the draft Convention is not only an academic exercise, it also illustrates the role of individuals, civil society, universities, affected communities, and policymakers in the formation of an enforceable normative framework.

The lecture will briefly explain the normative and historical roots of the draft Crimes Against Humanity Convention and will link these aspects to the practical and policy benefits of having an international convention on crimes against humanity. The presenter’s role as a legal academic informs part of the analysis; the role of mentors, civil society, students, and affected communities complete the picture and underscore the value of critical, reflective, caring, mentoring, and applied legal academic work.

The presentation concludes with some thoughts on the way forward for the draft Crimes Against Humanity Convention. The presenter will briefly link his own research, teaching, and community interaction agenda for the next few years with the type of normative work represented by the efforts to make the fight against crimes against humanity more effective.

Professor Gerhardus Kemp

Gerhard studied law in South Africa and Belgium and is Professor of International Criminal Justice, University of Derby (since 2020) and Extraordinary Professor of Public Law, Stellenbosch University. He is a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany (2017-2019), a senior fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Berlin (2016-2017), and a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (2018). He serves on the board of directors of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town. In 2021 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society for Arts. He is married to Dr. Andra le Roux-Kemp. 

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