Dissertation: Genocide Since the End of World War

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Genocide

Since the end of World War II, the term genocide has been continually brought to the forefront. Simply put, genocide is when violent acts are committed against a particular group of people. This based on the fact that a select group is usually in the minority population, within a particular country. However, the term genocide was not coined until 1944, when a Polish - Jewish lawyer was seeking to find some kind of word that can describe the actions and the policies used by the Nazi's. (Wietz 8 -- 15) This is significant, because the Holocaust would mark a turning point, in how the world would view such actions. Where, they were no longer willing to accept such behavior, to achieve territorial or political objectives. At which point, they would enact the United Nations Convention Against Genocide in 1948. This would define the act of genocide by indentifying the actions that members of military forces or those involved in conflict will engage in to include: mass executions, intentionally causing serious bodily / mental harm, enacting measures to prevent births of select groups of the population and forcefully removing children from their parents. This would provide a basic standard as to how the world would view the issue of genocide moving forward. (Wietz 8 -- 15) Yet, since that time these actions have continued, despite various international laws banning such practices. To fully understand the overall scope of these rules on the world community requires: that you examine the history of genocide since the end of World War II and what procedures / policies are in place to prevent such abuses from occurring. Together, these two elements will provide the greatest insights, as to the total impact that international laws against genocide have had, on the way wars are being fought.

The History of Genocide since the End of World War II

Like what was stated in the definition of genocide, it is based on acts of violence that are committed against a particular group of people. However, within the definition it does not include: those people who are targeted based on their political views or their economic background. The reason why is: the Soviet Union wanted this language in place, to prevent the actions that they took to suppress the population, from being considered genocide. This is significant, because it shows how one single narrow definition applied to genocide. Where, those who are committing such actions could claim that this group of the population was targeted, based upon their political views or their background. As result, the overall acts of genocide that this convention was intended to stop only increased what was occurring in the decades following the end of World War II. Some good examples of this can be seen in 1965 in Indonesia; when 500 thousand people were killed because they were communists. The Khmer Rouge of Cambodia would use this as justification for the actions that they were taking during the 1970's.

To prevent these obvious abuses from occurring, the international community will look at the intentions of the leadership, to determine if these actions are in fact justified. (Wietz 8 -- 15) This is important, because it shows the way genocide has evolved. Where, the international community will not look at such obvious justifications, instead they will see what are: the underlying intentions. This has created an enforceable standard, for effectively showing that someone is violating various international provisions.

As a result, this has created a new standard as to how the international community would deal with such actions. The problem was: that there was no way of effectively enforcing various international standards, against those who commit acts of genocide. This problem became increasingly apparent in throughout the 1970's and into the 1990's. Where numerous acts of genocide would occur around the world in a variety of countries to include: Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq, Bosnia, Sierra Leon, the Congo and East Timor just to a name a few. With no effective way of enforcing various provisions of the 1948 Convention, meant that a culture would exist in the world community. Where, genocide was banned, yet there was no way to enforce such violations. This would create an atmosphere in many countries that they could engage in such practices. As there was no way for the international community to investigate, much less prosecute them for the various atrocities that they committed. (Wietz 8 -- 15)

Procedures / Policies that are in Place to Enforce Violations of International Standards

In response to this issue, the Rome Statue was adopted in 1998, with the intention of providing an effective way for the international community to prosecute genocide. Where, those who are found to have violated such actions can be: brought to the court, to face the charges for the various acts of genocide that have been committed. With the Rome Statue, establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) for trying those individuals accused of committing genocide. (Rome Statute) This is significant, because the action of creating such institutions generated contention among the world community. As countries such as the United States would support the establishment of the ICC, yet they backed away from such support, out of fears that the courts could apply various international standards more generally. At which point, the chances could increase that the court could be used to target American military officers, who are following the standards, but are targeted anyways. There were also fears surrounding court's jurisdiction over American courts and military courts. As a result, in 2002 the U.S. unsigned the treaty and was against the establishment of such a court. To include: threatening military action to release American citizens that are held by the court. This is significant, because the United States was always the champion of human rights and the various international accords that were signed after World War II. The fact they are against such provisions, shows that a second double standard is in place. Where, only certain countries are following various international standards, while some (such as the U.S.) can avoid these standards because they have a large military. To many this is the international community creating a double standard, where they will say that acts of genocide should never be undertaken. Yet, the most power country on Earth and the biggest advocate of following these standards is not subject to the court's jurisdiction. (Shah) in many ways, this hypocrisy because of politics is creating increased amounts of tensions. Where, those who are trying to establish a universally enforceable mechanism of going after those individuals that violate international agreements; will face more challenges. At which point, the chances increase that acts of genocide will continue to occur, because of these views.

Under the Rome Statute, the ICC has the power to prosecute genocide when a country's national courts are failing to prosecute, those who are in violation of such standards. (Rome Statute) This can be problematic, because acts of genocide can continue to occur, as the ICC is waiting to see if there is a response from the country's courts. Then, there is the issue of arresting and extraditing those who are charged in the ICC, to stand trial. These two issues are the biggest factors that are standing in the way of the court, effectively being able to prosecute various individuals who commit acts of genocide.

Despite these obvious challenges that are being faced in prosecuting various acts of genocide. The ICC, has successfully prosecuted a number of different individuals accused of committing various acts of genocide. The most notable would include: the prosecution of Slobodan Milosevic. He was the former President of Serbia, who was accused of engaging in acts of genocide during the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo (during the 1990's). Although he was never convicted of the charges, (because he died during the trial) his arrest and prosecution was a major step forward for the international community. This is important, because Milosevic was charged with genocide in 1995 (by a special Bosnian war crimes commission) and had a warrant out for his arrest. Prior to being arrested and extradited to the ICC, many believed that he would never stand trail, as prosecutors had no authority to arrest him. However, despite these issues Milosevic was arrested in 2001 and sent to the court to stand trial. This would bolster the status of the ICC, as an effective mechanism for going after those people who commit acts of genocide. (Dworikinb)

After Milosevic was taken to the ICC, Charles Taylor of Liberia was arrested and sent to the court, to stand trial for acts of genocide committed during the civil war in Sierra Leon. This was a significant step forward for the court, as the Taylor had been wanted for such charges for years. Yet, because he was in Liberia, arresting him was challenging. Never the less, his arrest shows that no one is above the law and that the court, can effectively go after the most hardened war… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Genocide Since the End of World War.  (2010, June 27).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/genocide-since-end-world-war/2882

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"Genocide Since the End of World War."  27 June 2010.  Web.  21 July 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/genocide-since-end-world-war/2882>.

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"Genocide Since the End of World War."  Essaytown.com.  June 27, 2010.  Accessed July 21, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/genocide-since-end-world-war/2882.