15 Dec Milanovic on the Genocide Convention
My friend (and OJ alum) Marko Milanovic has a superb post today on the new EJIL: Talk! about the strengths and weaknesses of the Genocide Convention. Here is a taste:
Before we ask ourselves whether the Convention does what it was supposed to do, we need to look at what it actually says. And it says very, very little. The definition of the crime of genocide requires the specific intent to (physically or biologically) destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, this enumeration of protected groups being exhaustive. The narrowness of this definition is such that it excludes the vast majority of acts that most lawyers, and by far the majority of the general public, think of as genocide.
I never cease to be amazed, for example, with the frequency with which the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) are called the Cambodia Genocide Tribunal – even though the only crime for which the ECCC defendants are NOT being prosecuted for is genocide, because the killing of millions of ethnic Khmer by other ethnic Khmer on account of their social status does not meet the definition in Article II of the Convention. Bosnia? Not genocide, except in one municipality, Srebrenica, itself a borderline case. Darfur? Probably not really a genocide – see, for example, the Report of the UN Commission of Inquiry, paras. 508-512.
The entire post is well worth a read — as is an earlier post by friend-of-OJ Dapo Akande on whether human-rights treaties apply in times of war. If Marko and Dapo’s posts are any indication, EJIL: Talk! will soon be a force to be reckoned with.