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The term "crimes against humanity" has a broad definition in modern international law, and the N'rnberg Charter's definition of "crimes against humanity" includes genocide. The tribunal's charter gave it the authority to indict and prosecute Nazi regime leaders for atrocities committed against civilians as well as for acts of persecution based on politics, race, or religion.

In doing so, it also helped make other forms of abusive behaviour a crime on a global scale. The UN General Assembly passed Resolution 96-I (December 1946), which made the crime of genocide punishable under international law, as a result of the momentum created by the N'rnberg trials and the subsequent exposures of Nazi atrocities.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the first UN human rights convention, was approved by Resolution 260-III (December 1948). More than 130 nations have ratified the pact, which went into effect in 1951. Despite having contributed significantly to its creation and being one of the convention's original signatories, the United States Senate did not approve it until 1988.

Criticisms of the genocide convention

The convention has faced criticism for excluding political and social groups from the list of potential genocide victims, despite the fact that it has almost universal international support and that the International Court of Justice has declared the prohibition of genocide to be a peremptory norm (Latin: "compelling law").

The "intentionality clause," which refers to the "purpose to eliminate, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group," in the definition of genocide provided by the convention, is also problematic. Two of the most frequent criticisms are that it can be difficult to prove such intent and that it makes little sense to try to link such aim to specific individuals in modern cultures because violence can come from both nameless. Individual decisions are influenced by social and economic circumstances.

Some academics have pointed out that the first criticism is supported by the historical fact that governments do not publicly admit to perpetrating genocide. For instance, Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq justified its use of chemical weapons against Kurds in the 1980s as a measure to restore law and order, while the Ottoman and succeeding Turkish governments claimed that Armenians slaughtered in the massacres were simply the victims of war.

Even the Nazi government in Germany kept its mass murder of Jews and other groups a secret. In response, supporters of the intentionality clause have stated that regardless of the motives, "a pattern of planned behaviour" that results in the destruction of a sizable portion of the targeted population is sufficient to demonstrate genocidal intent.

The second objection's proponents contend that a strategy that only considers intent ignores the:
"structural violence" of social institutions, where enormous political and economic inequalities can result in the complete marginalisation and even extinction of some populations. The intentionality clause's supporters argue that it is essential for distinguishing genocidal acts from other types of mass deaths and for creating successful preventative measures.

The study of the relationship between war crimes and genocide illustrates the significant policy consequences of the arguments made by proponents and opponents of the genocide convention.

The targeted group's definition and identification process is the main difference between the two approaches. In contrast to war crimes, where the targeted group is designated by its status as an adversary, genocide targets are identified by their racial, national, ethnic, or religious traits.

The primary clue that the targeting is motivated by enemy status rather than racial, ethnic, or religious identity is the way the group's adversary behaves after the war has concluded.

Attacks against the targeted group must stop for the (likely) commission of war to occur. Yet, if the attacks continue, it is reasonable to accuse someone of committing genocide. The significance given to post-conflict behaviour reflects the knowledge that genocide may and does occur during times of war, frequently hidden behind military operations.

In any consideration of preventive action, the distinction between war crimes and genocide is crucial. The end of the combat would be sufficient in cases of war crimes, and no additional safety precautions would be required. In instances of genocide, the resolution of the conflict would need the implementation of safety precautions to guarantee the group's existence.

Despite the fact that many of the genocide convention's critiques are valid, its benefits shouldn't be overlooked. The "war-nexus" condition, which had restricted the jurisdiction of the N�rnberg tribunal to cases in which a crime against humanity was committed in connection with a crime against interstate peace, was disregarded by the genocide convention, which was the first legal instrument to do so. Genocide is an international crime "whether perpetrated in time of peace or in time of conflict," according to the convention.

The agreement was also the first UN legal document to say that anybody can be held legally responsible for crimes committed abroad, regardless of whether they operate on behalf of a state. According to Article 8, the convention might also be used as the legal foundation for the Security Council's mandated enforcement actions (the only UN organ that can authorise the use of force).

Recent developments
Although having provisions that would have allowed the UN to implement it, the genocide treaty lacked effective enforcement measures for the first 50 years after it was ratified. Although the convention mandated that those accused of genocide be tried before an international criminal court or a court of the state where the crime was committed, neither permanent international criminal courts nor domestic criminal prosecutions were common until the early 21st century, with the exception of the rare instance when a genocidal regime was overthrown and its officials were brought to justice by a successor regime.

In 1993, the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina argued before the International Court of Justice that the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia had violated the convention's provisions. This was the first time the genocide convention had been brought up in front of an international tribunal. The international community stepped up its efforts to prosecute alleged genocide crimes during the 1990s.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), which were both established by the UN Security Council, helped to clarify the essential elements of the crime of genocide as well as the standards establishing individual criminal responsibility for its commission. Genocide, according to the Rwandan tribunal, comprised "subjecting a group of people to a subsistence diet, systematic deportation from homes, and the decrease of basic medical services below minimal requirement," for instance.

Additionally, the court ruled that "rape and sexual violence constitute genocide as long as they were committed with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a particular group, targeted as such"-as was the case during the Rwandan conflict, when the Hutu-dominated government organised the widespread rape of ethnic Tutsi women by HIV-positive men. The Yugoslav tribunal also decided that persecution of both small and large groups of people can constitute evidence of genocidal intent, which is a crucial problem.

According to the tribunal, such intent may consist of desiring the extermination of a very large number of the members of the group, in which case it would constitute an intention to destroy a group en masse. However, it may also consist of the desired destruction of a more limited number of persons selected for the impact that their disappearance would have upon the survival of the group as such. This would then constitute an intention to destroy the group "selectively."

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which was ratified by about 120 nations in 1998 in Rome, became effective on July 1, 2002. The genocide crime falls under the purview of the ICC, and the law uses the same description of the crime as the genocide convention. Although the United States, China, and Russia chose not to participate, the creation of the ICC was another sign of a rising international consensus in favour of active and coordinated efforts to combat and punish the crime of genocide.

Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the western Sudanese province of Darfur. In 2010, a second warrant for Bashir's arrest was issued, this time with a genocide charge. Myanmar was accused of committing genocide in 2019 by The Gambia before the International Court of Justice due to its systematic persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

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