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Genocide and Justice lec 12.doc

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Political Science
Joseph Wong

Genocide and Justice Professor Janice Stein 1. Genocide – abstract concept - The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1945) o Lacks a proper punishment - committed with intent to destroy a national , ethnical, racial or religious group - occurs by: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily/mental to the group, - anything deliberately intended to destroy a group - massive forced sterilization - by definition not genocide if based on roots of political affiliation 2. Crimes Against Humanity (just below genocide) (1945) - The Charter of the International Military Tribunal - Namely murder, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape etc.. 3. War Crimes – violations of the laws & customs of war - Namely murder, ill-treatment, deportation for slave labour or for any other purpose of the cistlian population of or in occupied territory - (Holocaust – 1 time there was large-scale, systematic execution of a group) - (Nuremburg trials – set up by a council of the victorious parties of WWII to try those who lost the war for the acts committed not in a military context but against the civilians living amongst them during the war) (created in ad hoc way – no previous trials) Difference between war crime & Crime against Humnaity - Each has to do with the systematic intent - The fundamental question in legal theory is whether the killings were planned, systematicly against a group of people - Crimes against humanity can occur in any setting - War crime takes place during war Objections against Convention on Genocide - The convention excludes targeted political & social groups - Proving intention beyond reasonable doubt is extremely diff - The difficulty of defining or measuring ‘in part’ & est how many deaths equal genocide - Not genocide unless systematic, deliberate attempt to destroy a group Precedents - The Nuremburg trials - The Nuremberg marked a fundamental change in international law – gov’ts held accountable for actions against their own citizenry or those under their control o Says state sovereignty does not trump everything o States have responsibility to their citizens & citizens of other states - (if sovereign in territory, outsiders cannot interfere w/ matters of the state inside the state) - Soldiers are legally bound, even at threat of own life, to not commit genocide - Trails emphasized the duty to prosecute & punish so as; o To preserve the collective memory of those who were killed; to memorialize o To create a collective and objective history of what had happened o To create an effective deterrent Responsibilities of Individual States - Even after they have been defeated and replaced, the perpetrators of past crimes may still weild considerable polit power - Even after dem elections, military that committed genocide, remains intact - Past perpetrators of abuses may still command the loyalty of signif parts of the the pop; prosecution may threaten war - Change in gov’t may have taken place after a protracted civil war, with terrible abuses on all sides, and no clear victor. => reps of all sides may … - How should emerging democracies address the atrocities of their recent past when the perpetrators still wield considerable polit or military power? o Truth commission – a temporary body, set up by an official authority (pres/parlia) to investigate a pattern of gross human rights violations committed over a period of time in the past, with a view to issue a publish report which includes victims’ date and recommendations for justice and reconciliation  ^ justice & reconciliation are in direct conflict w/ one another  Trade-off – sacrifice of justice to promote democratic institutions/social peace  Victims of residential school cases… truth commission in canada right now Test Case : Argentina - Under a military government in the 1970s, about 30,000 people were “disappeared” in the war against subversion - Referred to as “el Proceso” or the Dirty War - Gov’t was only removed when it lost in a naval battle against the British, resignation of all generals, but remained in power - New civilian gov’t had to make a decision, what to do about disappearances o Brought some militart leaders to trial for crimes against the Argentiean population o Appointed a presidential panel to investigate the political disappearances of thousands
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