New York, 9 December 1948
The Convention, a major pillar in the evolving framework of international
humanitarian rules, declares genocide a crime under international law.
It condemns genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of
war, and provides a definition of this crime. Moreover, the prescribed
punishment is not subject to the limitations of time and place.
The Convention defines genocide as any of a number of acts committed with
the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial
or religious group: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily
or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the
group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction
in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within
the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The Convention also declares that there shall be no immunity. Persons committing
this crime shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible
rulers, public officials or private individuals.
Furthermore, the Convention stipulates that persons charged with genocide
shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory in
which the act was committed or by such international penal tribunal as
may have jurisdiction with respect to the Contracting Parties. The crime
of genocide is a justiciable offence under the Rome Statute of the International
Criminal Court (17 July 1998, not yet in force).
Likewise, genocide shall not be considered as a political crime for the
purpose of extradition. In such cases, Contracting Parties pledge themselves
to grant extradition.
Unlike other human rights treaties, the Genocide Convention does not establish
a specific monitoring body or expert committee. It stipulates that any
Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations
to take such action under the United Nations Charter, which they consider
appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide. Thus,
the matter may be brought before the International Court of Justice which
may order interim measures of protection. At present, one such case is
pending before the International Court of Justice.
|Entry into force: 12 January 1951
Status as at 15 June 2000: Signatories: 42 Contracting Parties:130