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(1) In international law, a violation of the norms of international law or obligations resulting from incorrect action (inaction) or negligence. Current international law distinguishes two categories of delicts: misdemeanors, which constitute infringements on the rights and interests of a particular state or group of states, and international crimes, which are infringements on the basic principles of international relations and thus damage the rights and interests of all states. Most typical in this respect are criminal encroachments on international peace and the security and freedom of peoples. These encroachments are singled out in a special category of delict because of their extraordinary danger and are specified in the UN Charter. In international documents adopted since World War II (1939-45), crimes against peace have often been included in the category of the most serious international crimes; these are considered crimes against humanity (for example, the statutes of the Nuremberg and Tokyo international war tribunals and the resolutions of the UN General Assembly on Dec. 11, 1946, and Nov. 21, 1947).
The concept of the international crime is also applied to actions by a state that infringe on the sovereignty and freedom of peoples, such as colonial oppression, suppression of a national liberation, movement by force, apartheid, and genocide. Also among crimes against humanity is the initial introduction by a state of nuclear, chemical, bacteriological, or other weapons of mass destruction. All states and other subjects of international law bear international legal liability for delicts. Agreements by states on international measures to prosecute particular categories of crimes committed by physical persons (above all, crimes against humanity) do not change this principle, because the liability of physical persons who have committed such crimes is a special type of criminal liability in the norms of international law.
(2) In civil law, a misdemeanor.
V. I. MENZHINSKII