International Day of Remembrance and Dignity of the Victims of the Genocide and the Prevention of this Crime

The 9th of December is the anniversary of the adoption of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  Also called the Genocide Convention, is an international law instrument that codified genocide as a crime.

Genocide is the intentional destruction of a particular group through killing, serious physical or mental harm, preventing births and/or forcibly transferring children to another group. The Canadian government has formally recognized five instances of genocide abroad: the Armenian genocide, the Holodomor, the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia.

What else do we know about the Genocide Convention, other than, it is an international law?

  • It was the first human rights treaty adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations.
  • International community’s commit to ‘’never again’’ will this happen after the atrocities committed during the Second World War.
  • The genocide convention is a list of articles that dictate prevention methods and punishments should a nation commit or is on the verge of genocide.
  • The Genocide Convention has been signed by 152 United Nations States (as of July 2019). The other 42 United Nations Member States have yet to do so. From those, 19 are from Africa, 17 from Asia and 6 from America.

These states’ obligations:

  • Obligation not to commit genocide (Article I);
  • Obligation to prevent genocide (Article I);    
  • Obligation to punish genocide (Article I);
  • Obligation to enact the necessary legislation to give effect to the provisions of the Convention (Article V);
  • Obligation to ensure that effective penalties are provided for persons found guilty of criminal conduct according to the Convention (Article V);
  • Obligation to try persons charged with genocide in a competent tribunal of the State in the territory of which the act was committed, or by an international penal tribunal with accepted jurisdiction (Article VI);
  • Obligation to grant extradition when genocide charges are involved, in accordance with laws and treaties in force (Article VII), particularly related to protection granted by international human rights law prohibiting refoulment where there is a real risk of flagrant human rights violations in the receiving State.

As defined in the Genocide Convention its role of prevention and combating the crime of genocide will be commemorated on December 9th in order to raise awareness and honour it’s victims.

Human Rights Committee of UVAE