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Convention on Genocide Print E-mail

Convention on the Prevention and Punishmentof the Crime of Genocide

Adopted by Resolution 260 (III) A of the U.N. General Assembly on 9 December 1948.
Entry into force: 12 January 1951.

The Contracting Parties,
Having considered the declaration made by the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 96 (I) dated 11 December 1946 that genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world,
Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and
Being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required,
Hereby agree as hereinafter provided:


Article 1. The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.


Article 2. 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.


Article 3. The following acts shall be punishable:
(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.


Article 4. Persons committing genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.



Article 5. The Contracting Parties undertake to enact, in accordance with their respective Constitutions, the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the present Convention, and, in particular, to provide effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article 3.


Article 6. Persons charged with genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to those Contracting Parties which shall have accepted its jurisdiction.


Article 7. Genocide and the other acts enumerated in article 3 shall not be considered as political crimes for the purpose of extradition.
The Contracting Parties pledge themselves in such cases to grant extradition in accordance with their laws and treaties in force.


Article 8. Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.


Article 9. Disputes between the Contracting Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfillment of the present Convention, including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide or for any of the other acts enumerated in article III, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice at the request of any of the parties to the dispute.


Article 10. The present Convention, of which the Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall bear the date of 9 December 1948. 


 Article 11. The present Convention shall be open until 31 December 1949 for signature on behalf of any Member of the United Nations and of any nonmember State to which an invitation to sign has been addressed by the General Assembly.
The present Convention shall be ratified, and the instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
After 1 January 1950, the present Convention may be acceded to on behalf of any Member of the United Nations and of any non-member State which has received an invitation as aforesaid. Instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Article 12. Any Contracting Party may at any time, by notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, extend the application of the present Convention to all or any of the territories for the conduct of whose foreign relations that Contracting Party is responsible.


Article 13. On the day when the first twenty instruments of ratification or accession have been deposited, the Secretary-General shall draw up a process-verbal and transmit a copy thereof to each Member of the United Nations and to each of the non-member States contemplated in article 11.
The present Convention shall come into force on the ninetieth day following the date of deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.
Any ratification or accession effected, subsequent to the latter date shall become effective on the ninetieth day following the deposit of the instrument of ratification or accession.


Article 14. The present Convention shall remain in effect for a period of ten years as from the date of its coming into force.
It shall thereafter remain in force for successive periods of five years for such Contracting Parties as have not denounced it at least six months before the expiration of the current period.
Denunciation shall be effected by a written notification addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Article 15. If, as a result of denunciations, the number of Parties to the present Convention should become less than sixteen, the Convention shall cease to be in force as from the date on which the last of these denunciations shall become effective.


Article 16. A request for the revision of the present Convention may be made at any time by any Contracting Party by means of a notification in writing addressed to the Secretary-General.
The General Assembly shall decide upon the steps, if any, to be taken in respect of such request.


Article 17. The Secretary-General of the United Nations shall notify all Members of the United Nations and the non-member States contemplated in article 11. of the following:
(a) Signatures, ratifications and accessions received in accordance with article 11.
(b) Notifications received in accordance with article 12.
(c) The date upon which the present Convention comes into force in accordance with article 13.;
(d) Denunciations received in accordance with article 14.;
(e) The abrogation of the Convention in accordance with article 15;
(f) Notifications received in accordance with article 16.

Article 18. The original of the present Convention shall be deposited in the archives of the United Nations.
A certified copy of the Convention shall be transmitted to each Member of the United Nations and to each of the non-member States contemplated in article 11.


Article 19.T he present Convention shall be registered by the Secretary-General of the United Nations on the date of its coming into force.


The legal definition of genocide (Including Discussion and Key Terms)
The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
Article II describes two elements of the crime of genocide:
1) the mental element, meaning the "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such", and
2) The physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e. A crime must include both elements to be called "genocide."
Article III described five punishable forms of the crime of genocide: genocide; conspiracy, incitement, attempt and complicity.


Excerpt from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide

"Article 2: 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.
Article 3: The following acts shall be punishable:
(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide. "

Discussion:

It is a crime to plan or incite genocide, even before killing starts, and to aid or abet genocide:
Criminal acts include conspiracy, direct and public incitement, attempts to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide.
Punishable Acts The following are genocidal acts when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group's existence:
Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.
Causing serious bodily or mental harm includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.
Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate deprivation of resources needed for the group's physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services. Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts.

Prevention of births includes involuntary sterilization, forced abortion, prohibition of marriage, and long-term separation of men and women intended to prevent procreation.

Forcible transfer of children may be imposed by direct force or by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or other methods of coercion. The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as persons under the age of 18 years.
Genocidal acts need not kill or cause the death of members of a group. Causing serious bodily or mental harm, prevention of births and transfer of children are acts of genocide when committed as part of a policy to destroy a group's existence.

Protected Groups:
The law protects four groups - national, ethnical, racial or religious groups.


A
national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.
An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.
A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.
A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.
Usually people are born into these four groups. These four groups share the common characteristic that individuals are most often born into the group. While some individuals may change nationality or religion - or even adopt a new cultural, ethnic or racial identity - usually people do not choose their group identity. In genocide people are targeted for destruction not because anything they have done, but because of whom they are.
Group identity is often imposed by the perpetrators. Perpetrators of genocide frequently make group categories more rigid or create new definitions which impose group identity on individuals, without regard to people's individual choices.

Key Terms:

The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. "Intentional" means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.
Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, IT IS GENOCIDE.
The phrase "in whole or in part" is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members - mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.
Article 2. was included without change in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as Article 6 and also in the Statutes of the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and former Yugoslavia.
* * *

Definition of "Ethnic Cleansing"
Ethnic Cleansing
- This is a literal translation of the term in Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language, term being "etnicko ciscenje", which appearaed in mass media reports as early as 1991. The term derived its current meaning during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, probably as part of military vocabulary. It was most often used in the final phase of combat, to describe taking total control of the conquered territory. According to the U.S. State Department, "ethnic cleansing generally entails the systematic and forced removal of members of an ethnic group from their communities to change the ethnic composition of a region. It includes:
1. Forced expulsions
2. Looting and Burning
3. Detentions
4. Summary Execution
5. Rape
6. Violations of Medical Neutrality
7. Identity Cleansing

 

 
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