The Evolving Nature of the Crime of Genocide
The John Marshall Law School
John Marshall Law Review, Vol. 38, No. 1, 2005
The French prosecutor at Nuremberg described it as a crime so monstrous, so undreamt of in history ... that the term genocide' had to be coined to define it. ... For Lemkin, genocide not only extinguishes the existence of a national group; ultimately it destroys the cultural contributions of that group. ... Critics of the definition of genocide have argued that it is over-inclusive because it goes beyond biological destruction of a cognizable group to include cultural genocide. ... Thus, for a crime of genocide to have been committed, it is necessary that one of the acts listed under [Article II of the Convention] be committed, that the particular act be committed against a specifically targeted group, it being a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. ... Professor George Fletcher argues that genocide is a collective crime and criticizes the focus of international criminal law that has prevailed since Nuremberg, which he says, emphasized the responsibility of individuals for the crime of genocide. ... Instead, it may make it easier for a political leader, like a Milosevic, who conceives the idea and then devises a plan for genocide as a policy for his nation, to avoid maximal responsibility, escape the harshest possible punishment and shift liability onto those individuals down the hierarchy who execute his genocidal plan.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
JEL Classification: K00
Date posted: October 19, 2007