Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide

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The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, often referred to as the Genocide Convention, is an international treaty that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1948. It entered into force on January 12, 1951. The Genocide Convention was a response to the atrocities committed during World War II, particularly the Holocaust, and aimed to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. The key provisions of the Genocide Convention include: 1. Definition of Genocide: The convention defines genocide as the intentional and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group by killing its members, causing serious bodily or mental harm, imposing conditions to bring about physical destruction, preventing births within the group, or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. 2. Obligation to Prevent and Punish Genocide: The convention places an obligation on signatory states to prevent and punish genocide. Signatory states are required to enact domestic legislation to criminalize genocide, and they must take effective measures to prevent and suppress acts of genocide within their jurisdiction. 3. Jurisdiction and Extradition: The convention establishes the principle of universal jurisdiction, allowing any state to bring individuals accused of genocide before its courts, regardless of the nationality of the perpetrator or the location where the crime was committed. It also provides for the extradition of individuals accused of genocide. 4. Duty to Try or Extradite: The convention requires states to either prosecute individuals accused of genocide in their own courts or extradite them to another state that is willing and able to conduct the prosecution. 5. International Tribunal: The Genocide Convention was instrumental in the establishment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which were created to prosecute those responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, respectively. 6. State Responsibility: The convention holds states responsible for acts of genocide committed by their officials or within their territory, regardless of whether the acts were carried out by the government or by non-state actors. 7. Role of the United Nations: The convention empowers the United Nations to take appropriate action to prevent and suppress acts of genocide and to bring them to an end. It also calls upon the UN member states to cooperate with the organization in its efforts to prevent and punish genocide. The Genocide Convention has been widely ratified, with 154 states currently party to the treaty. It is considered a fundamental document in the field of international human rights and has played a crucial role in shaping international criminal law. The convention has contributed to raising awareness about the crime of genocide and has provided a legal framework for holding perpetrators accountable.

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