Congress and Genocide: They're Not Going to Get Away With It

15 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2014

See all articles by Jordan J. Paust

Jordan J. Paust

University of Houston Law Center

Date Written: June 16, 2014


This short article demonstrates that genocide is prohibited under customary international law and is also a prohibition jus cogens, that the definition of genocide contained in Article II of the Genocide Convention is the customary definition of genocide, that the attempt by the United States to change the definitional reach when ratifying the Convention has failed, and that the attempt by Congress to change the definition in domestic legislation has left the United States in violation of its treaty-based obligation to enact adequate legislation. Particularly egregious is the attempt to limit genocide to an intent to destroy a “substantial” part of a listed group and the statutory definition of “substantial” part now contained in 18 U.S.C. § 1093(8).

Keywords: adequate legislation, Congress, customary, definition, genocide, Genocide Convention, in whole or in part, international law, jus cogens, legislation, mental harm, ratification, substantial, understanding, universal jurisdiction, viable entity

Suggested Citation

Paust, Jordan J., Congress and Genocide: They're Not Going to Get Away With It (June 16, 2014). 11 Michigan Journal of International Law 90 (1989), U of Houston Law Center No. 2014-A-56, Available at SSRN:

Jordan J. Paust (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

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