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"Enforced disappearance of persons" is a crime against humanity punishable under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The ICC Elements of Crimes defines the crime as follows:

  • The perpetrator arrested, detained, or abducted one or more persons;
  • The perpetrator later refused to acknowledge the arrest, detention, or abduction and to give information as to the whereabouts of the victim(s);
  • The perpetrator knew that the arrest would be followed by such refusal;
  • The arrest and subsequent refusal were carried out or authorized by a government or political organization;
  • The conduct was committed in part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population, and the perpetrator knew as much.

[Last updated in October of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]