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Vol 22 No 2 Feb/March 2017

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The UN Genocide Convention: A Commentary

Edited by: Paola Gaeta

ISBN13: 9780199570218
Published: October 2009
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £95.00

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The Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948, is one of the most important instruments of contemporary international law.

It was drafted in the aftermath of the Nuremberg trial to give flesh and blood to the well-known dictum of the International Military Tribunal, according to which 'Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced'.

At Nuremberg, senior state officials who had committed heinous crimes on behalf or with the protection of their state were brought to trial for the first time in history and were held personally accountable regardless of whether they acted in their official capacity.

The drafters of the Convention on Genocide crystallized the results of the Nuremberg trial and thus ensured its legacy. The Convention established a mechanism to hold those who committed or participated in the commission of genocide, the crime of crimes, criminally responsible. Almost fifty years before the adoption of the Rome Statute, the Convention laid the foundations for the establishment of the International Criminal Court. It also obliged its Contracting Parties to criminalise and punish genocide.

This book is a much-needed Commentary on the Genocide Convention. It analyses and interprets the Convention thematically, thoroughly covering every article, drawing on the Convention's travaux préparatoires and subsequent developments in international law. The most complex and important provisions of the Convention, including the definitions of genocide and genocidal acts, have more than one contribution dedicated to them, allowing the Commentary to explore all aspects of these concepts.

The Commentary also goes beyond the explicit provisions of the Convention to discuss topics such as the retroactive application of the Convention, its status in customary international law and its future.

International Criminal Law
Part I - Introduction
1. The Road to the Genocide Convention , Yuval Shany
2. The Convention as a Treaty on Judicial Co-operation? State Responsibility v. Individual Criminal Liability (Art.
1) , Paola Gaeta
3. The Obligation to Prevent and Punish Genocide (Art.
1 and Art.
6) , Orna Ben Naftali
4. Can the Convention be Applied Retroactively? Prosecuting Denials of Past Genocides , Christian Tomuschat
Part II - The Crime of Genocide
5. Genocidal Acts (Art.
2) , Florian Jessberger
6. Protected Groups (Art.
2) , Fanny Martin
7. Genocidal Intent (Art.
2) , Florian Jessberger
8. The Policy Element (Art.
2) , Antonio Cassese
9. Perpetrators and Co-perpetrators of Genocide (Art.
3 ) , Alexander Zahar
10. Complicity to Commit Genocide (Art.
3) , Elies van Sliedregt
11. Attempt to Commit Genocide (Art.
3) , Jens Ohlin
12. Conspiracy and Incitement to Genocide (Art.
3) , Jens Ohlin
Part III - Repressing Genocide Through Criminal Law
13. The Criminalization of Genocide in National Legal Systems (Art.
5) , Ben Saul
14. National Criminal Jurisdiction over Genocide (Art.
6) , Vanessa Thalmann
15. International Criminal Jurisdiction over Genocide (Art.
6) , Salvatore Zappalà
16. The Extradition of Génocidaires (Art.
7) , Robert Roth
17. Immunities and Genocide (Art.
4) , Paola Gaeta
18. The Defence of Alleged Genocidaires , Howard Morrison
Part IV - Enforcing the Convention
19. The Role of the United Nations in Preventing or Suppressing Genocide (Art.
8) , Giorgio Gaja
20. The ICJ Jurisdiction , Robert Kolb and Sandra Krähenmann
Part V - The Mechanics of the Convention
21. The Territorial Application of the Convention and State Succession (Article 12) , Marko Milanovic
22. Life and Death of the Convention (Entry into Force, Denunciation and Revision of the Convention: Articles 13-19) , Katherine Del Mar
Part VI - Taking Stock and Looking to the Future: The Convention in the XXIst Century
23. The Expansion of the Convention into Customary International Law , Paola Gaeta
24. Looking Ahead: Can the Convention's Flaws and Loopholes Be Remedied? , Antonio Cassese ;