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Lecture

General overview of lecture with a question to answer for practice


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL101Y1
Professor
Jeffrey Kopstein

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Semester 2 Lecture 1
Genocide and Justice:
x The genocide of the Jews during the holocaust reshaped the way states function in regards to
their people and how the international system would intervene in the event of crimes against a
population of crimes committed against soldiers during war
x Genocide: the systematic elimination of a group based on their race, gender, ethnicity, religion,
nation. Political groups cannot be ^genocided_ against
x For something to be classified as genocide, there has to be present the systematic intention of
the killer to wipe out significant numbers of the victimized group
x Crimes Against Humanity: murder, enslavement, deportation, torture, rape that can be
committed pre or post war
x War Crimes fit into the same categories above, however they are committed over the course of
a given conflict
x After the Nuremberg trials an international justice system would emerge with the basic rule that
any state is accountable for its actions in regards to its citizens of its territory and those that it
occupies. States are also held accountable for the treatment of other states in times of conflict.
x Essentially, after this mandate, sovereignty lost much of its power; states had to respect rules
towards every aspect of their composition and the composition of others
Cases:
x In many circumstances, when a government or international criminal organisation is removed,
there is always a party with a certain amount of power.
x In most cases, it is the military who retain their hard power and the result is unrest and
instability
x To assure that justice is passed, truth committees are formed to investigate crimes against
humanity and war crimes
x Argentina: the military was making people disappear. After the Falklands War, a new
government was re-established and a truth committee was formed to investigate the events.
The process however proved to be too slow and only a handful of low ranking officers got
properly tried for their crimes. Not too long after, the International Criminal Tribunal was
formed to deal with such circumstances with greater efficiency.
Conclusions
x It is very difficult to deal with international displays of criminal activity by states.
x Despite the acts being clearly defined, existing legal infrastructure limits the capability of
international courts to deal with these situations.
x In addition to the limits of legal infrastructure, we must also take into account state interests in
the legal process.
x Question: Which comes first, justice or state interest?
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