Genocide

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Territorial Scope of Application of the Genocide Convention

In the Bosnian Genocide case, Bosnia alleged that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY, Serbia) was responsible for, inter alia, committing genocide and failing to prevent genocide on Bosnian territory. This argument, of course, immediately raised the question whether the FRY had any obligations under the Genocide Convention regarding its actions outside its own territory. To answer this question, it is first necessary to recall that the Court interpreted the Convention so as to contain three distinct sets of obligations of state parties: (1) The obligation to criminalize the crime of genocide and its ancillary crimes in their domestic law, and to prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes; (2) The (positive) obligation to prevent genocide; (3) The (negative) obligation not to commit genocide through their own organs or agents. This expansive interpretation of the Convention is not uncontroversial. It is entirely possible to read the Convention as solely requiring (1) criminalization, that the (2) obligation to prevent genocide is merely hortatory, and that (3) is found nowhere in the treaty (see, for example, this article by…

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The Two Faces of the Genocide Convention

In keeping with Christmas spirit, here’s my next post on the Genocide Convention. Can a state be responsible for genocide? What does that even mean? Aren’t international crimes, in the sage words of the Nuremberg Tribunal, committed by men, not by abstract entities?Can a state even possess genocidal intent, a basic requirement for the crime of genocide?…

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60 Years of the Genocide Convention

Many thanks to Dapo for inviting me to blog here at EJIL: Talk! - hopefully the blog will turn out to be as successful in the blawgosphere as the EJIL is in print. In the next couple of weeks I intend to write on various topics, first about certain issues regarding the the Genocide Convention, which has had its sixtieth…

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