World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Genocide Convention

Article Id: WHEBN0000143988
Reproduction Date:

Title: Genocide Convention  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: International Criminal Law, Public international law, Ecocide, War crime, Genocide
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Genocide Convention

Genocide Convention
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
Signed 9 December 1948
Location Paris
Effective 12 January 1951
Signatories 41
Parties 146 (complete list)
Depositary Secretary-General of the United Nations

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The convention entered into force on 12 January 1951.[1] It defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin. All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. The number of states that have ratified the convention is currently 146.

Definition of genocide

Article 2 of the convention defines genocide as

Article 3 defines the crimes that can be punished under the convention:


The convention was passed to outlaw actions similar to the [5]


Participation in the Genocide Convention
  Signed and ratified
  Acceded or succeeded
  Only signed


Sixteen nations conditioned ratification, accession, or succession to the Convention on one or more declarations, reservations, or understandings which explicitly require that the nation grant consent to trial of its citizenry before an international court for the crime of genocide.[6][7]

The nations asserting such reservations are:

  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • China
  • India
  • Malaysia (reservation opposed by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom)
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • Philippines (reservation opposed by Norway)
  • Rwanda (reservation opposed by the United Kingdom)
  • Singapore (reservation opposed by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom)
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United States (reservation opposed by Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom)
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam (reservation opposed by the United Kingdom)
  • Yemen (reservation opposed by the United Kingdom)
  • Yugoslavia (now Montenegro and Serbia)

Application to Non-Self-Governing Territories

Several countries opposed this article, considering that the convention should apply to Non-Self-Governing Territories:

  • Albania
  • Belarus
  • Bulgaria
  • Hungary
  • Mongolia
  • Myanmar
  • Poland
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Ukraine

The opposition of those countries were in turn opposed by:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Brazil
  • Ecuador
  • China
  • Netherlands
  • Sri Lanka
  • United Kingdom



The first time that the 1948 law was enforced occurred on 2 September 1998 when the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda found Jean-Paul Akayesu, the former mayor of a small town in Rwanda, guilty of nine counts of genocide. The lead prosecutor in this case was Pierre-Richard Prosper. Two days later, Jean Kambanda became the first head of government to be convicted of genocide.


The first state to be found in breach of the Genocide convention was Serbia. In the Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro case the International Court of Justice presented its judgment on 26 February 2007. It cleared Serbia of direct involvement in genocide during the Bosnian war,[8] but ruled that Serbia did breach international law by failing to prevent the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, and for failing to try or transfer the persons accused of genocide to the ICTY, in order to comply with its obligations under Articles I and VI of the Genocide Convention, in particular in respect of General Ratko Mladić.[9][10]


United States

One of the first accusations of genocide submitted to the UN after the convention entered into force concerned treatment of black people in the United States. The Civil Rights Congress drafted a 237-page petition stating, among other things, that "the lynching and other forms of assault on the lives and livelihoods of African Americans from 1945 to 1951, especially the frenzied attacks on returning black American veterans, amounted to genocide." Black activists William Patterson, Paul Robeson, and W. E. B. Du Bois presented this petition to the UN in December 1951. Raphael Lemkin, originator of the term genocide, however, "argued vehemently that the provisions of the Genocide Convention bore no relation to the US Government or its position vis-à-vis Black citizens."[11]

See also


  1. ^ Status of the Convention
  2. ^ a b c Text of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, website of the UNHCHR.
  3. ^
  4. ^ ]
  5. ^ William A. Schabas, Genocide in International Law: The Crime of Crimes 2d ed., p. 160
  6. ^ Prevent Genocide International: Declarations and Reservations to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  7. ^ United Nations Treaty Collection: Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, STATUS AS AT: 01-10-2011 07:22:22 EDT
  8. ^
  9. ^ ICJ:Summary of the Judgment of 26 February 2007 – Bosnia v. Serbia
  10. ^ Court Declares Bosnia Killings Were Genocide The New York Times, 26 February 2007. A copy of the ICJ judgement can be found here
  11. ^ John Docker, "Raphaël Lemkin, creator of the concept of genocide: a world history perspective", Humanities Research 16(2), 2010.

Further reading

  • Henham, Ralph J.; Chalfont, Paul; Behrens, Paul (Editors 2007). The criminal law of genocide: international, comparative and contextual aspects, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., ISBN 0-7546-4898-2, ISBN 978-0-7546-4898-7 p. 98
  • Tams, Christian J.; Berster, Lars; Schiffbauer, Björn (2014). Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide: A Commentary. C.H. Beck. ISBN 978-3-406-60317-4
  • Introductory note by William Schabas and procedural history note on the Genocide Convention in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.