International criminal justice
Genocide continues to surface the daily headlines in modern society, with the proceedings in the court being flooded with similar charges each day. Genocide entails the deliberate killing of innocent individuals belonging to a particular group or tribe, and it is classified as a crime under international criminal law. Through international criminal law, Genocide has campaigned as a crime against humanity; hence should be prohibited under whatever circumstance. Although some nations have criminalized the Genocide, some are far from its criminalization, making it harder even for the inner court of justice to prove in addition to the local courts.
Raphael Lemkin, in 1944 coined the term genocide to imply the deliberate acts committed in the intention of destroying either whole or part, the national, ethnic, racial groups with the inclusion of killings or causing serious bodily or mental harms to the embers of the group (Ooms et al. 100). The Genocide also involves the deliberate actions which bring about the physical destruction either wholly or partly, preventing births or even forcibly transferring children out of the group to another (Cryer et al. 13). In history, Europe suffered genocide crimes, particularly in the Nazi Province, during Adolf Hitler’s reign in the twentieth century (Ooms et al. 100). Cassese and Antonio (31) argue that Lemkin successfully campaigned for the universal acceptance of international laws defining and forbidding the genocides globally, hence incorporating the law to become an internationally bidding law to commit such. United Nations general assembly adopted the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) in 1948 and came into effect on January 12, 1951. Through this law, the various countries have adopted and incorporated it into their national criminal legislation.
The notion of “crimes against humanity” is argued to have originated in different occurrences by various scholars. Some arguments point to the slave trade context, describing the atrocities associated with European colonialism in Africa. In contrast, others point to the allied government declaration of the condemnation of the mass killing of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Wierczyńska Karolina 280). Since then, the crimes against humanity have evolved under international customary law and through the jurisdictions of international courts such as the international criminal court. Although genocide and war crimes have been codified in a dedicated international law treaty, the crimes against humanity are still lagging towards the same (Irvin-Erickson and Douglas 578). The 1998 Rome Statute establishing the international criminal court gives an inside into the international community’s latest consensus on the crimes against humanity. Also, it offers the most extensive list of specific acts that may constitute crimes against humanity. The various crimes against humanity under this clause include; murder, enslavement, torture, extermination, sexual harassment, crimes against apartheid, enforced disappearance of persons, and persecution against any identifiable group (Combs et al. 223). The Rome Statute further dictates the determination of crimes against humanity must be committed in furtherance of a state or organizational policy to commit an attack.
Despite the outlining of various crimes defined as Genocide, it is still a challenge to prove Genocide. According to international criminal law, Genocide is the explicit call to prevent and punish as stipulated under the 1948 treaty. However, the court proceeds have ruled that if you wait till there is legal certainty to prove Genocide, then one has waited for long. Politics make the ability to prove Genocide difficult as the party or state charged with Genocide will be highly isolated and stigmatized in the global community (Weber et al., 98). Various activists often feel that the nation has not been charged with Genocide because it would make it impossible for governments to deal with the country. The international court of justice influences the deterring the prove of Genocide (Schwöbel and Christine 25). For instance, the International Court of Justice defenders argue that the court is civil and not criminal; hence its purpose is to settle disputes between nations, thus keeping amity and peace intact. This, therefore, illustrates the focus of the international court of justice to reconciliation rather than justice as it happened in the Serbia military involvement Yugoslav army.
Genocide and crimes against humanity are interrelated in different aspects. Wierczyńska, Karolina (280) state that both the crimes against humanity and Genocide historically became part of the international law in the mid- 40s following World War II. The crimes against humanity and Genocide usually occur in both war and peace periods. Both the crimes against humanity and genocides have an element of large-scale. There still exist some disparities between the genocides and crimes against humanity, such as Genocide being a crime with the material and formal elements, unlike crimes against humanity (Cassese et al. 12). Crimes against humanity focus on the murder of a vast population, unlike Genocide, which focuses on destroying groups instead of murder. Genocides are not limited to strict requirements belonging to military necessity, unlike the crimes against humanity.
In conclusion, Genocide and Criminal justice are still surfacing the news headlines every day despite incorporating the laws into international criminal law. Both Genocide and crimes against humanity trace their origin from mid – the 1940s. Despite the outlining of the various crimes against the Genocide in international criminal law, there is still more needed to achieve global justice for all fully. Politics, as well as an international court of justice activists, derail the achievement of justice in the genocide crimes. Although the crimes against human rights and Genocide share some similarities, some disparities still exist, like the focus on mass population in crimes against humanity instead of the destruction of groups in genocides.
Cassese, Antonio, ed. The Oxford companion to international criminal justice. Oxford University Press, 2009.
Cassese, Antonio, Guido Acquaviva, and Alex Whiting. International criminal law: cases and commentary. Oxford University Press, 2011.
Combs, Nancy Armory. “Deconstructing the Epistemic Challenges to Mass Atrocity Prosecutions.” Wash. & Lee L. Rev. Vol. 75, No. 1, 2018, pp. 223.
Cryer, Robert, Darryl Robinson, and Sergey Vasiliev. An introduction to international criminal law and procedure. Cambridge University Press, 2019.
Irvin-Erickson, Douglas. “Prosecuting Sexual Violence at the Cambodian War Crimes Tribunal: Challenges, Limitations, and Implications.” Human Rights Quarterly Vol. 40, No. 3, 2018, pp. 570-590.
Nasution, Aulia Rosa. “The Crime of Genocide on the Rohingya Ethnic in Myanmar from the Perspective of International Law and Human Rights.” Padjadjaran Journal of Law Vol. 5, No.1, 2018, pp. 182-206.
Ooms, Gorik, Ines Keygnaert, and Rachel Hammonds. “The right to health: from citizen’s right to human right (and back).” Public health Vol. 172, No. 2,2019, pp. 99-104.
Schwöbel, Christine, ed. Critical approaches to international criminal law: an introduction. Routledge, 2014.
Weber, Heloise, and Martin Weber. “Colonialism, genocide and International Relations: the Namibian–German case and struggles for restorative relations.” European Journal of International Relations Vol. 26, No. 1, 2020, pp. 91-115.
Wierczyńska, Karolina. “Act of December 18 1998 on the Institute of National Remembrance–Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes against the Polish Nation as a Ground for Prosecution of Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and Crimes against Peace.” Polish Yearbook of International Law Vol. 37, No. 1, 2017, pp. 275-286.