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Is the United Nations Genocide Convention an Effective Instrument ?

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  1. A too narrow textual definition of Genocide
    1. The restriction of the groups potentially victim
    2. The limited enumeration of prohibited acts
    3. The specific intent : to destroy in whole or in part
  2. A difficult application of such an instrument
    1. The necessary extension of the groups protected
    2. The necessary extension of the acts perpetrated
  3. The need of a revisited convention
    1. Impossibility to convict of genocide without the existence of a system
    2. Impossibility to prosecute a political genocide

The term genocide comes from the Greek word genos which means race or tribe and the Latin word cide which means killing. The word genocide only appeared in the indictment for the Nuremberg trail, and neither in its Charter nor its judgment. For this trial, the crime of genocide has actually been prosecuted as a part of Crime against Humanity. It acquired autonomous significance as a specific crime in 1948, when the UNGA adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948 (hereinafter "the Convention"). In the first part, I will describe the textual definition of Genocide and its most obvious gaps, which imposed a wide interpretation by jurisdictions (I). In a second part, I will show how the text needs an interpretation to enable some prosecutions for Genocide (II). As I conclude, I will explain why it appears necessary to draft another Genocide Convention (III).

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