Gauging Genocide

 

The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.   The law protects four groups – national, ethnical, racial or religious groups. 

 

The following constitute some of the actions that can be classified as genocide:

  • Killing members of the group includes direct killing and actions causing death.

  • Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to destroy a group includes the deliberate  deprivation of resources needed for the group’s physical survival, such as clean water, food, clothing, shelter or medical services.

  • Deprivation of the means to sustain life can be imposed through confiscation of harvests, blockade of foodstuffs, detention in camps, forcible relocation or expulsion into deserts. 

 

In several recent conflicts, civilian homes, public utilities infrastructure, hospitals, schools and United Nations offices have been targeted killing thousands of civilians – defenseless children, women and men.  United Nations organizations and peace groups have joined the widespread international outcry for instituting genocide charges against the aggressor nations. 

 

Some partial observers have tried to make the case that if the aggressor nations are not signatories to the ICC conventions, then the ICC does not have the jurisdiction to prosecute the aggressor nations.  Due to the severity of the crimes, the aggressor nations should not be allowed to evade accountability for their war crimes due to political ploys or legal loopholes.

 

Recent events have highlighted the glaring double standards and political imbalance that unfortunately exist in assessing, administering and adjudicating war crimes tribunals.

 

The International Criminal Court (ICC) was set up in The Hague to handle cases, such as the above, where there has been clear contravention of international laws and aggressive atrocities resulting in extensive civilian casualties.  The aggressor nations need to be expeditiously judged by the same set of ICC standards and the liable leadership of the guilty governments should face swift sentencing and prompt punishment.

 

India, the land of enlightened religions, Mahatma Gandhi, non-violence  and non-alignment should be in the forefront of condemning all cases of genocide as well as establishing economic embargoes on all states that indulge in genocide and ensuring that the war criminals face their just retribution.

  

 

(www.embar.net – for additional articles)  

 

 

 

 

 

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