Banal Crimes Against Humanity: The Case of Asylum Seekers in Greece

Ioannis Kalpouzos, Itamar Mann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, Greece has inflicted widespread inhuman and degrading treatment on asylum seekers. The European Union border agency Frontex has knowingly exposed asylum seekers to such treatment in Greek detention centres. This article argues that acts of Greek and Frontex agents may lead to individual responsibility for crimes against humanity under Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court arts 7(1)(e), (h) and (k). Investigation of such acts remains unlikely, not due to the relevant doctrine, but due to a popular imagination of crimes against humanity as radically evil acts. But international criminal law should not only aim to punish radically evil acts. Equally important is seemingly banal violence that appears as an inevitable by-product of global social and economic structures. Such is the violence currently wielded against asylum seekers. Confronting the latter category requires the International Criminal Court Prosecutor to realise the political nature of his or her judgement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalMelbourne Journal of International Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • CRIMES against humanity
  • POLITICAL refugees
  • INTERNATIONAL criminal courts
  • SOCIAL structure


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