Reporting Justice

I/4: Genocide

I/4: Genocide

Law Module 4:  Genocide

The Genocide Convention of 1948 affirms that genocide is a crime under international criminal law whether committed during times of peace or war.  It defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:  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 part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”  We will discuss how the term genocide was developed and how it differs from and overlaps with crimes against humanity.

Key Questions:

What distinguishes “genocide” from “crimes against humanity”?

Why is it such a difficult crimes to prosecute?

Required Readings:

In Crimes of War, read sections on Incitement to Genocide (236-238); Genocide (191-195); Cambodia (76-83); and Rwanda (360-363).

Edward Kissi, “Genocide,” in World at Risk:  A Global Issues Sourcebook (Washington, D.C.:  CQ Press, 2010) (663-384).

Genocide Convention, available at

Matthew Lippman, “Genocide: The Crime of the Century. The Jurisprudence of Death at the Dawn of the New Millenium,” 23 Hous. J. Int’l L. 467 (2000-2001), available at

BBC analysis on defining genocide, available at

Selected Online Resources:

Genocide Intervention Network, available at

Genocide Watch, available at

Facing History and Ourselves, available at

Prevent Genocide International, available at