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Genocide and Justice First lecture of the second term

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University of Toronto St. George
Political Science
Jeffrey Kopstein

Genocide and Justice POL101Y1 Jan 10, 2011 Definition - Genocide is committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide - Genocide occurs by: o Killing members of the group o Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. o Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part o Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. o Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group o Acts directed against political group are excluded from the definition of genocide. - What is left is what is appropriate justice for the victims and what is appropriate consequences for the perpetrators. - Its genocide if its based on race or religion or gender, but its not genocide if its political affiliation. Crimes Against Humanity - The Charter of the International Military Tribunal, passed in 1945, described these atrocities as customary international crimes that justify international criminal sanctions. 1) Crimes against humanity, namely  Murder  Enslavement  Deportation  Imprisonment  Torture  Rape, or  Other inhumane acts  Committed against any civilians populations 2) War crimes, or violations of the laws and customs or war, namely:  Murder  Ill-treatment  Deportation for slave labour or for any other purpose fo the civilian population of or in occupied territory.  Nazi-Germany with the killing of the Jews was the first time there was the deliberate killing of a single race. Differences between War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity - One instance of a reprehensible act could be a war crime, but not a crime against humanity. The latter must be shown to have resulted from widespread and systematic policy - Also crimes against humanity (e.g., destruction of property and systematic persecution) can occur in any setting, while a war crime takes place only during a war. - The objections most frequently raised against the Convention on Genocide include: o The convention excludes targeted political and social groups. o Proving intention beyond reasonable doubt is extremely difficult o The difficulty of defining or measuring “in part”, and establishing how many deaths equal genocide. Precedents: - The trial of the Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg Trials. - 2. The Nuremberg Laws marked a fundamental change in international law governments could be held accountable for actions against their own citizenry or those under their control. - The trials emphasized the duty to presecute and punish, so as: 1) To preserve the collective memory of those who were killed; to memorialize; 2) To create a collective and objective HISTORY of what had happened; and 3) To create an effective deterrent. Responisibilities of Individu
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