Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Hostis Humani Generis Definition:

Latin: the enemy of mankind.

Related Terms: War, Universal Jurisdiction

Common enemies of all mankind.

In Filartiga, Justice Irving Kaufman of the United States Court of Appeals wrote:

"[F]or the purposes of civil liability, the torturer has become - like the pirate and slave trader before him - hostis humani generis, an enemy of all mankind."

In Sentell, Justice Brown of the United States Supreme Court:

"[A] ferocious dog is looked upon as hostis humani generis, and as having no right to his life which man is bound to respect."

For example, pirates are often described as hostis humani generi, as are terrorists.


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