Bringing To Justice Perpetrators Of Genocide Criminology Essay

Published:

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Since the beginning of mankind, the world has seen several conflicts and battles; the conflicts would mainly be one state fighting against another state. Today, however, this couldn't be more different. The twentieth century has been home to many conflicts that are within states themselves; threats are now not from external pressure, but from internal pressure "…the twentieth century has seen four times as many civilian victims of war crimes against humanity than there were soldiers killed in all the international war" [1] . A vast amount of states are facing intra-state conflicts, with ethnic conflict now becoming the most common factor for violence. The conflict is normally between two or more ethnic groups, with one being the minority group in the country. In 1941, Winston Churchill had called genocide 'the crime without a name' [2] . The term 'genocide' was famously coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 work 'Axis rule in occupied Europe [3] . Since the coining of the term, the world has been a stage for the numerous acts of genocide, ranging from Africa to across Europe. This essay will be seeking to define the concept of genocide, and will seek to analyze the International Laws and Courts in place to prevent such crimes, and will seek to answer the question of how effective they have been in protecting and bringing to justice perpetrators.

"Genocide is the deliberate extermination of a racial, religious or ethnic group" [4] 

The twentieth century has witnessed major example of genocide, the most noted, and most discussed are: The massacre of the Armenians by the Young Turks in 1915, genocide of the Jews by the Nazis and, in 1994, the genocide in Rwanda with the Tutsis being, killed in masses by the Hutu, Bosnian genocide in 1995, and the current situation in Dafur, Sudan 2003 to present.

Genocide has been accepted as part of the genus of crimes against humanity. Therefore leading the act of genocide to be authoritatively codified in a single widely accepted human rights document the 'Genocide convention of 1948'. [5] The acceptance that genocide is on a total different scale to all the other crime committed against humanity, is due to the fact that act of genocide suggests an intention to entirely abolish a certain ethical or cultural group "…genocide is a conspiracy aimed at the total destruction of a group and thus requires a concerted plan of action" [6] . Those who perpetrate the genocide aim only to kill innocent civilians and children, but entire cultures. Genocide also is evidently distinguishable from all other crimes by the motivation behind it. Therefore genocide is acknowledged as both the inhumane and also the greatest of all the crimes committed against humanity [7] . The act of genocide has been frequent throughout the ages, and is thought that the twentieth century is the century of genocide "…has been doomed by some to be the century of genocide" [8] . The United Nations also took on this term to describe the planned systematic mass murder of a particular group of people in its landmark convention the 'prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide (UNCG). [9] 

In 1944, Raphael Lemkin a Polish born was an adviser to the United States War Ministry. He had witnessed the world becoming faced with a new unprecedented phenomenon - mass killings. No-one had yet been able to identify these crimes and so no name was given. Therefore Raphael Lemkin decided to come up with his own terminology. Lemkin took the Greek prefix, genos, meaning 'tribe, group, or nation', and combined it with the Latin word cidium, which means to 'kill', thus conceiving the word 'genocide' [10] .

Raphael Lemkin argued that the act of genocide would create utter destruction to both a nation and the different ethnic groups living within that state. Lemkin also suggested that the perpetrators of the violence had a coordinated plan in order to establish total extermination of the targeted groups "...Lemkin explained genocide as the coordinated plan of different actions aimed at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves" [11] . January, B states that Lemkin's view of genocide saw it as an assault on a culture through various means, an example of this would be that genocide was not only to be viewed and accepted as an act of killing innocent civilians, but also by forbidding the use of a language or by the destruction of a cultures monuments [12] . Lemkin wrote that the crime of genocide incorporated a range of actions; "...including not only deprivation of life and also devices considerably endangering life and health: all the actions are sub-orientated to the criminal's intent to destroy or to cripple permanently a human group. The acts are directed against groups as such, and individuals are selected for destruction only because they belong to these groups". [13] 

Lemkin described eight dimensions of genocide; political, cultural, social, biological, religious economic, physical, moral, and religious - each of these dimensions target different features of a group's existence. Out of all these different dimensions Lemkin, states that the most commonly recognized are cultural, biological and physical [14] . The first most common is cultural genocide which expands past physical or biological attacks and elements of the group. It seeks to get rid of its all the targeted groups wider institutions. This is implemented in various ways, and often includes banning the group the right to use and communicate in its language, constraints upon the group's traditional practice, attacks on academics and intellectuals, the abolishment of religious institutions and objects, and the persecution of clergy members. The second most common dimension - Biological genocide contains forceful measures calculated to diminish the reproductive ability of the targeted group; this included activities such as "involuntary sterilization or forced segregation of the sexes". [15] And lastly physical genocide is the tangible extinction of a particular group by means of killing and disfigurement of its members; this is done either directly or through "what the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda recognized as "slow death" techniques such as concentration camps". [16] 

Lemkin's examination and persistence on the subject of genocide prompted the United Nations to implement a new human rights document called the 'Convention for the Prevention and the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention was voted into existence by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) in 1948. [17] 

The protection of human rights was seen as the sole internal responsibly of the nation, however with the new emerge of genocide following the aftermath of the Holocaust where six million Jews were massacred, which showed the world acts of utter inhumanity, a international consensus emerged that the protection of human rights and the prevention of genocide was the responsibility of the international community [18] . However whilst the UN conventions where in place to protect and prevent the act of genocide, it could not stop more massacres from occurring as "since 1948 there have been, arguably, eight subsequent genocides in which more than 5.5 million people have died" [19] .

The 1948 The Genocide Convention, that began to be in force in 1951 defined genocide as, "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, killing members of the group, intentionally 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 the group to another group". [20] However the United Nations genocide convention has very limited practical effect. The main reason for this is notion of recognition of the act of 'genocide 'an example of this is the case of Armenia, who have for centuries been seeking and campaigning for the mass killings of the Armenians by the Turkish population to be classified as acts of genocide. The second reason why the convention is limited in its effectiveness is due to the notion of state sovereignty versus human rights. The convention is careful not to intervene within sovereign borders, thus is does not always step in to stop genocide a prime example of this would be the Darfur situation that is still on-going - there has been no attempt to classify the killings as genocide or to intervene.

Whilst the conventions are limited in preventing genocide, the international courts have been successful in bringing to justice the perpetrators of the violence within a few cases. These include the Nuremburg trials and also the Tokyo war crimes tribunal. Firstly the Nuremberg trials were established to bring to justice and punish those responsible for the Nazi Holocaust. This trail was a success not only because it brought justice, but more to do with the fact that it was an illustration of justice - it was the first time a trial for genocide was implemented. The same with the Tokyo tribunal which also sought to put to the trial the Japanese leaders who committed acts against humanity. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide forbids both the physical and biological dimensions of genocide; it does not mention anything to do with cultural genocide. However this oversight was deliberate. The early drafts of the Genocide Convention directly banned cultural genocide. However, as the treaty was being finalized, a debate aroused over its correct capacity. "Many state representatives who were drafting the treaty understood cultural genocide to be analytically distinct, with one arguing forcefully that it defied both logic and proportion to include in the same convention both mass murders in gas chambers and the closing of libraries." [21] Many however agreed with Lemkin's idea that a group could be "effectively destroyed by an attack on its cultural institutions, even without the physical or biological annihilation of its members." [22] The dimension of cultural genocide was in due course removed from the final Convention, except for a restricted exclusion on the compulsory removal of a group's children. The drafters of the Convention recognized that the removal of children was both physically and biologically destructive but further acknowledged that forceful training of children into the languages, customs, and values of a foreign group was "tantamount to the destruction of the child's group, whose future depended on that next generation." [23] Despite the constrained definition of genocide, broader cultural considerations do still play two vital roles in punishing genocide under the Convention. First, acts of cultural genocide breach what the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) referred to as the "very foundation of the group" [24] - this is the intent of the perpetrators to abolish the protected group. The ICTY held the Serbians accountable for the demolition of Muslim libraries, mosques and attacks on cultural leaders, and concluded that this was genocidal intent by the Serbs against Muslims in the former Yugoslavia [25] .

The Genocide Convention, seeks to do more than just define the crime of genocide, it holds states accountable and responsible for preventing and punishing the perpetrators of genocide. However, the convention does not necessitate military intervention within or outside of the states borders. Whilst there has been a real effort by the international community to punish genocide and bring to justice the perpetrators, there as yet to be any case of large-scale international humanitarian intervention that have successfully prevented genocide [26] . The Pol Pot regimes in Cambodia during the 1970s, and Rwanda in 1994, are two examples of genocide that have occurred since the Genocide Convention entered into force, that have resulted in systematic extermination of groups of people.

The Cambodian genocide began in 1975. It was the third genocide after the Genocide Convention was in force. Communist leader and leader of the Khmer Rouge guerillas, Pol Pot, began a violent crusade into the region of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The intent of the Khmer regime was to abolish the core characteristics of the Khmer people - these included the religion (Buddhism), the family and national identity. To date over two million of civilians have been killed by the Khmer Rouge [27] . Regardless of the extent of killing, the Genocide Convention did not step in to protect the innocent civilians, and whilst the Convention was adopted to protect the world of such inhumane crimes, many nation states and international organizations expressed shock and horror at the violence, they did nothing to eradicate the problem Cambodia Faced. It was argued that as the Khmer Rough promoted a communist political regime, it did not fit in with the definition of genocide defined within the Genocide Convention. This viewpoint was opposed by Schanberg who argued that "to make such...legalistic distinctions, is sometimes to forsake common sense...The Khmer Rouge set out to erase an entire culture" [28] .  After years of tireless campaigning to bring to justice the members of the Khmer Rough and also Pol Pot, the Convention agreed to set up a tribunal to punish the perpetrators.

In the case of the Rwanda genocide which began in April1994, after the assassination of the Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana, who belonged to the Hutu ethnic group. After his death the extreme Hutu group began a cruel campaign of extermination and terrorization of the Tutsi minority group in Rwanda. Just a hundred days over eight hundred thousand individuals were massacred, and countless amounts of women and girls were raped. [29] Again the international community watched the cruel and vicious attacks, on newspapers, and television and did nothing to stop the terror until it was too late. The United Nations peacekeepers were in Rwanda at the time of the attacks, but they stated that they did not have the mandate to use force to intervene. Though it remained true that many nation states did not intervene nor did enough to stop thousands of innocent individuals getting killed, the international community did succeed in launching the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The establishment of the court aimed to bring the perpetrators of the genocide to justice and in doing so it "fulfilled that part of the Genocide Convention that calls for crimes to be punished" [30] .

 In conclusion, ever since the first coining of the term genocide, and the first acts of mass killings of a particular group by another, there has been a need for an effective and legislated system in place to protect and intervene when these crimes first came to surface. There are three legal bodies that are established by the United Nations, to mandate an arrest and put to trail the perpetrators. These bodies are: The international Criminal Court, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. The International Criminal Court was introduced in July 1 2002 [31] . The main aim of the Court was to conduct trials against those accountable for such violence, and was intended to deter future crimes of genocide. However the Court has been limited in regards to this notion, as it cannot prosecute individuals for any crime that was committed before the established of the Criminal Court. Another limitation is that the states that do not sign up to the Court, are not obligated to cooperate with it, thus they cannot be trailed. Also most acts of genocide take place outside the Courts jurisdiction. The second body in place was the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia which came into notion in May, 1993; in order bring to justice those who were responsible for violations of International Humanitarian Law within the territory of Yugoslavia. These bodies have not been so effective as instruments for those who committed crimes of genocide, the International Community and Courts, still have not intervened or brought to trail those who are involved in the current acts of inhumane violence, such as the current situation in Darfur, Sudan. Whilst they have sought to protect civilians and punish those accountable the Courts are still very limited in bringing perpetrators to trail and punishing them.

Referencing:

Books:

Anderson, J et al., (2007) ' War crimes and Atrocities (Futura)

Heidenrich, J, (2001) 'How to Prevent Genocide: A Guide for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Concerned Citizen'. (Heidenrich Praeger Publishers)

January, B. (2006) 'Genocide: Modern Crimes Against Humanity' (Twenty-First Century Books

Ratner. R. Stevens & Abrams. S. Jason (2001)' Accountability for human rights atrocities in international law'2nd ed (Oxford University press),

Roth. K. John, (2005), ' Genocide and human rights: A philosophical guild (Palgrave Macmillan)

Totten, S (2004, 'Teaching about genocide': issues, approaches and resources' (Information Age Publishing)

Online:

Chamber dictionary (2006), cited at: Peace pledge union information 'Genocide', [Online] Available from: http://www.ppu.org.uk/genocide/g_genocide_intro.html

Nersessian, D, (2005) Carnegie Council, 'Rethinking Cultural Genocide under International Law

Human Rights Dialogue: "Cultural Rights" [Online], Available from: http://www.cceia.org/resources/publications/dialogue/2_12/section_1/5139.html

Destexhe, A. (2005) 'Rwanda and Genocide in the twentieth century' (New York University Press),

The crimes of war organisation 'International Criminal Court', [Online], Available from: http://crimesofwar.org/icc_magazine/icc-intro.html

Human Rights Education Associates 'Crimes of War - Educator's Guide Genocide'. [Online], Available from: http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=130

Schabas, A, W.(2000) 'Genocide in international law: The crimes of Crimes', Cambridge University Press, [Online], available from: http://assets.cambridge.org/052178/2627/sample/0521782627WS.pdf

The United States Holocaust memorial museum 'Rwanda overview; [Online], Available from: http://www.ushmm.org/conscience/alert/rwanda/contents/01-overview/

Writing Services

Essay Writing
Service

Find out how the very best essay writing service can help you accomplish more and achieve higher marks today.

Assignment Writing Service

From complicated assignments to tricky tasks, our experts can tackle virtually any question thrown at them.

Dissertation Writing Service

A dissertation (also known as a thesis or research project) is probably the most important piece of work for any student! From full dissertations to individual chapters, we’re on hand to support you.

Coursework Writing Service

Our expert qualified writers can help you get your coursework right first time, every time.

Dissertation Proposal Service

The first step to completing a dissertation is to create a proposal that talks about what you wish to do. Our experts can design suitable methodologies - perfect to help you get started with a dissertation.

Report Writing
Service

Reports for any audience. Perfectly structured, professionally written, and tailored to suit your exact requirements.

Essay Skeleton Answer Service

If you’re just looking for some help to get started on an essay, our outline service provides you with a perfect essay plan.

Marking & Proofreading Service

Not sure if your work is hitting the mark? Struggling to get feedback from your lecturer? Our premium marking service was created just for you - get the feedback you deserve now.

Exam Revision
Service

Exams can be one of the most stressful experiences you’ll ever have! Revision is key, and we’re here to help. With custom created revision notes and exam answers, you’ll never feel underprepared again.