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Genocide in International
Criminal Law
Dr. Masoud Zamani
GA Resolution
96(1)
• Genocide is a denial of the
right of existence of entire
human groups, as homicide is
the denial of the right to live of
individual human beings.
• Three Targets of Genocide: 1.
Individual Victims 2. The Group
to Which Victims Belong 3.
Human Diversity
Special Intent in
Genocide
• Special Intent: Intending to destroy a
group
• Not all mass atrocities are genocide.
Crimes committed by the Pol Pot regime
in Cambodia between 1975-1978 are not
genocide, and the instances of ‘ethnic
cleansing’ in Former Yugoslavia do not
count as ‘genocide’.
Special Intent
Complexities
• Can an individual act of killing with intent
to destroy a group be considered as
genocide?
• ICTY Trial Chambers in Jelisic: Killings
by a single perpetrator are enough for
genocide.
• William Schabas: An expansive reading
of genocide risks undermining the
profound stigma and mobilising power of
the term.
Article II of
the Genocide
Convention
• In the present Convention, genocide means any
of the following acts committed with intent to
destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, as such:
• (a) Killing members of the group;
• (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to
members of the group;
• (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions
of life calculated to bring about its physical
destruction in whole or in part;
• (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent
births within the group;
• (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to
another group.
Akayesu
• Based on a misunderstanding the drafting history of the Convention, the Trial Chambers
determined that the drafters of the Convention intended to protect any stable and
permanent group.
• The Commission of Inquiry established by the SC to investigate violations of international
humanitarian law and human rights in Darfur concluded that Akayesu ruling has become
part of international customary law.
Membership in
Targeted Groups
• Actus reus in the crime of genocide must
be directed at members of the targeted
group.
• Determination of membership is not a
simple matter.
• Subjective Approach: The perpetrator
considers the victims to be members of a
group, he or she is targeting.
• Objective Approach: Particulars of a given
social or historical context
ICTR
• ICTR in Bagilishema:
A group may not have precisely defined boundaries and there may
be occasions when it is difficult to give a definitive answer as to
whether or not a victim was a member of a protected group.
Moreover, the perpetrators of genocide may characterize the
targeted group in ways that do not fully correspond to conceptions of
the group shared generally, or by other segments of society. In such
a case, the Chamber is of the opinion that, on the evidence, if a
victim was perceived by a perpetrator as belonging to a protected
group, the victim should be considered by the Chamber as a
member of the protected group, for the purposes of genocide.

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Genocide in International Criminal Law.pptx

  • 1. Genocide in International Criminal Law Dr. Masoud Zamani
  • 2. GA Resolution 96(1) • Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings. • Three Targets of Genocide: 1. Individual Victims 2. The Group to Which Victims Belong 3. Human Diversity
  • 3. Special Intent in Genocide • Special Intent: Intending to destroy a group • Not all mass atrocities are genocide. Crimes committed by the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia between 1975-1978 are not genocide, and the instances of ‘ethnic cleansing’ in Former Yugoslavia do not count as ‘genocide’.
  • 4. Special Intent Complexities • Can an individual act of killing with intent to destroy a group be considered as genocide? • ICTY Trial Chambers in Jelisic: Killings by a single perpetrator are enough for genocide. • William Schabas: An expansive reading of genocide risks undermining the profound stigma and mobilising power of the term.
  • 5. Article II of the Genocide Convention • In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: • (a) Killing members of the group; • (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; • (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; • (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; • (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
  • 6. Akayesu • Based on a misunderstanding the drafting history of the Convention, the Trial Chambers determined that the drafters of the Convention intended to protect any stable and permanent group. • The Commission of Inquiry established by the SC to investigate violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Darfur concluded that Akayesu ruling has become part of international customary law.
  • 7. Membership in Targeted Groups • Actus reus in the crime of genocide must be directed at members of the targeted group. • Determination of membership is not a simple matter. • Subjective Approach: The perpetrator considers the victims to be members of a group, he or she is targeting. • Objective Approach: Particulars of a given social or historical context
  • 8. ICTR • ICTR in Bagilishema: A group may not have precisely defined boundaries and there may be occasions when it is difficult to give a definitive answer as to whether or not a victim was a member of a protected group. Moreover, the perpetrators of genocide may characterize the targeted group in ways that do not fully correspond to conceptions of the group shared generally, or by other segments of society. In such a case, the Chamber is of the opinion that, on the evidence, if a victim was perceived by a perpetrator as belonging to a protected group, the victim should be considered by the Chamber as a member of the protected group, for the purposes of genocide.