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How genocide became an internationally punishable crime

2024-01-26 17:14:29, Blog CNA

How genocide became an internationally punishable crime

After World War II and Nazi Germany's murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, the world united around a now-familiar motto: Never again. A key element of the aspiration to prevent such events from happening again was the drafting of a convention to prevent and punish what is often called the crime of crimes: genocide. With the process at the International Court, Israel faces accusations of a crime, the consequences of which its people have suffered.

The convention was drawn up in 1948, the year of the establishment of the state of Israel. Now the Supreme Court of Justice is asking Israel to prevent the genocide, after South Africa accused it of committing a crime whose consequences are deeply rooted in its national identity.

Mary Ellen O'Connell, professor of law and international peace studies at the University of Notre Dame, says the reason the genocide convention exists is directly related to the Nazis' efforts to eliminate the Jewish people.

"So to be accused of genocide is, of course, extremely problematic, a huge challenge to Israel's identity as a state, which was created to prevent future genocides against the Jewish people. This matter is taken very seriously," says Professor O' Connell.

Chimène Keitner, Professor of Law at the University of California, explains that this process is "preliminary" and that it is not a criminal trial.

"The truth is that there has been tremendous human suffering on both sides of this conflict for decades. I think the focus should be on finding a way for the people living in that region to live in peace and security and to ensure that neither side treats the other inhumanely in this difficult and seemingly intractable conflict. ."

The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines it as acts "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".

This definition is also included in the Rome Statute, the basis for the establishment of the International Criminal Court, as one of the crimes under its jurisdiction, along with war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression.

This court prosecutes individuals and is separate from the International Court of Justice, which decides on disputes between countries./ VOA

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