Accusation in a Mirror

37 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2012

See all articles by Kenneth L. Marcus

Kenneth L. Marcus

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law

Date Written: 2012


This is the first full-length exploration of "accusation in a mirror" or "human rights inversion" in international human rights law. Essentially, accusation in a mirror (AiM) is a common technique for inciting genocide by accusing one's intended victims of precisely the crimes that one intends to commit against them. This article argues that the usage of this common genocidal technique should satisfy the directness requirement for incitement to genocide under international law. The nature, functions, psychology, purpose and mechanisms of AiM are explored, and examples are drawn from Nazi Germany, Rwanda, Yugoslavia, Iran, the contemporary Middle East, and elsewhere. These genocidal uses of AiM are compared with similar techniques used historically to defame persecuted groups, such as the myths of the black rapist, the Indian giver, and the murderous Jew. This article is an expanded version of a conference paper delivered at a conference on incitement to genocide which the author co-convened at the Loyola University School of Law in Chicago.

Keywords: Genocide, Incitement, Rwanda, Iran, Ahmadinejad, Racism, Antisemitism, Anti-Semitism, Native Americans, human rights, inversion, defamation, international, law, projection, prejudice, discrimination, persecution, Rome, convention

JEL Classification: J70, J71, J78, J79, K10, K33, K39

Suggested Citation

Marcus, Kenneth L., Accusation in a Mirror (2012). Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 357 - 393, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Kenneth L. Marcus (Contact Author)

The Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law ( email )

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 1025
Washington, DC DC 20006
United States

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