Research Handbooks in International Law series
Edited by Bartram S. Brown
Chapter 3: The crime of genocide
Mark A. Drumbl* OVERVIEW AND DEFINITION The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (‘Genocide Convention’, adopted in 1948) defines genocide as: [A]ny 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.1 The Genocide Convention’s definition reappears in other international legal instruments, such as article 2(2) of the Statute of the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (1994) (ICTR),2 article 4(2) of the Statute of the ad hoc International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (1993) (ICTY),3 and article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) (entered into force in 2002).4 In the case of the ICC Statute, additional elaborative content is provided by the Elements of the Crimes (under article 9 of the ICC Statute, the Elements of the Crimes assist judges and parties before the ICC in interpreting and applying the proscribed crimes). As Cherif Bassiouni observes, genocide ‘remains a single instrument crime’ owing to the influence of the Genocide Convention.5 Looking beyond the treaty framework, the prohibition of genocide...
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