Genocide and Justice 1/16/2012 10:12:00 AM
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:
Killing members of the group
Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring
about its physical destruction, in whole or in part;
Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.
Acts directed against political groups are excluded from the definition of
Crimes Against Humanity
The charter of the International Military Tribunal, passed in 1945, described
these atrocities as customary international crimes that justify international
1. Crime Against Humanity, namely: murder, enslavement,
deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape, or, other inhumane acts,
committed against any civilian population, before or during the war.
2. War Crimes, or violations of the laws and customs of war, namely:
murder, ill-treatment, deportation for slave labor or for any other purpose
of the civilian population of or in occupied territory.
1. The trial of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg for genocide and crimes
against humanity after their DEFEAT in World War II.
A truth commission is
A temporary body,
Set up by an official authority (president, parliament) to
Investigate a pattern of gross human rights violations committed over a
period of time in the past, with a view to
Issuing a public report, which includes
Victims data and recommendations for justice and reconciliation. Test Case: Argentina
Under a military government in the 1970s, from 9000-30000 persons are
estimated to have disappeared in the war against subversion .
Referred to as EI Proceso or the Dirty War.
The loss to the UK in the Falklands War of 1982 discredited the military
and led to changes
The new civilian government:
Brought some military leaders to trial for crimes against the Argentinean
Appointed a presidential panel to investigate the political disappearances
of thousands of Argentineans, who were arrested, tortured, and killed by
the military juntas.
The panel published a report called Nunca Mas or Never Again.
But: unrest among the military led to: to retreat from further
prosecutions , and amnesty most violations by junior and mid-
What went wrong?
The lengthy time of prosecution gave the military the time to regroup and
Prosecution of mid-level officers, rather than only the senior commanders,
galvanized military opposition.
The lesson of Argentina: Justice and political stability are best reconciled
through a program of prosecutions that has defined limits.
The Children and South African Alternatives
President Aylwin was inaugurated in March, 1990, after negotiating
transitional arrangements with a united, undefeated military that still
enjoyed considerable support.
The new government:
Established two goals: reparation and prevention. It explicitly did NOT
emphasize punishment as one of the principal objectives.
Gave priority to DISCLOSURE of the TRUTH. The emphasis was on
President Aylwin appointed the National Commission The mandate of the National Commission for Truth and
To describe how a repressive system worked, its roots, its methods,
and its consequences;
To account for every individual reported dead or disappeared.
To account for systematic practice of torture.
To account for the crimes committed by opposition groups
To propose measures for reparation and prevention, in consultation with
social, religious, and political organizations, as wells as the expertise of
human rights organizations in Chile and abroad.
The Commission presented its report to the President in February 1991,
Pensions for the families of the dead and the disappeared;
Measures designed to commemorate the dead and honor the victims;
Legal, institutional, and educational reforms to enhance the promotion
and protection of human rights.
The report did NOT name individual culprits.
It did declare whether the victimizer in any given case was an agent of
the state or a member of an opposition group.
The Chilean government made a set of compromises among:
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
On 8 November 1994, the UNSC created an International Criminal Tribunal.
The purpose of the Tribunal is:
To bring to justice those persons presumed responsible for acts of
genocide or other violations of humanitarian law on Rwanda territory, and
Rwandan citizens presumed responsible for such acts or violations
committed on the territory of neighboring States between 1 January and
31 December 1994.
The principal purpose is justice, through prosecution and punishment, to
create a collective deterrent .