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Is The Genocide Convention A Meaningless Document

3490 words - 14 pages

This essay will argue that the genocide convention is not a meaningless document, but rather weak in dealing with genocide as evidenced in the case of Darfur 2003, because of limitations in definition which need to be addressed. The convention is characterized as being problematic due to the following grounds, its definition of genocide and its furtherance’s as well as lack of enforceability and its failure to prevent genocide. Even though the statement contains an element of truth, it is too subjective and unfairly undermines the legal significance of the Convention. This paper will consider this claim paying particular attention to the legal definition of genocide, which is described by Martin Shaw as vague and incomplete. First, this essay will examine the origins and define the concept of genocide in accordance with the GC; second, it will address the case of non intervention during genocide using the realist and liberal paradigms, third, It will address the case study and examine whether or not the genocide convention is indeed a meaningless document then conclude by arguing that it is not meaningless but is in need of reform.
The term genocide was first coined by the Polish legal scholar Raphael Lemkin in 1943.Lemkin had sought to give a name to the Nazi programme of systematic violence in their occupied territories, particularly the mass murder of Europe’s Jews.Lemkin was later instrumental in the creation of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, which was approved by the U.N. General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and provided a legal definition of the term. The Genocide Convention is the first United Nations (UN) human rights treaty later strengthened by the Responsibility to protect (R2P) doctrine of 2010 giving parties an obligation prevent and protect from mass atrocities. Genocide is a term that is fast entering common terminology when pointing fingers at any form of state repression, as evidenced in Darfur. One difficulty is the continuing lack of definition commonly agreed upon by law and social science. For legal purposes, genocide is defined by the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide even though many social scientists are unhappy with the legal definition, some claiming that it is too broad, others that it is too narrow. The Genocide Convention legally defined genocide as "any acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such." Arne Johan Vetlesen argues that genocide is a collective action meaning that it is contemplated, thought out, planned, organized, and carried out by a specific organized collective, by a group. The defined target of genocide is another group. The key word from Vetlesen’s perspective is "intent" Which will later be discussed in the last part of this paper.

The GC is however a liberal tool even though this paper shall rely more on a realist paradigm because it...

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