Genocide: Legal Precedent Surrounding the Definition of the Crime [September 14, 2004]   [open pdf - 129KB]

"The current situation in Darfur, Sudan, and the surrounding debate over whether the Sudanese government's actions constitute genocide or ethnic cleansing provides the impetus for this report. This report presents a brief historical background on the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention), its ratification and implementation by the United States, and its incorporation into the Rome Statute creating an International Criminal Court (ICC). Decisions from the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR) are analyzed to help determine when charges of genocide have been found to be legitimate. For legal purposes, genocide is a highly specific offense, and to be liable for it an actor must commit certain acts against a designated group with an intent to destroy the group, in whole or in part. Accordingly, a number of serious human rights atrocities, such as the mass extermination of a civilian population, might not constitute genocidal acts in certain circumstances, though they may nevertheless constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32605
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