AN EXAMINATION OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW

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ABSTRACT

This thesis entitled “An Examination of the Crime of Genocide under International Humanitarian Law” dealt with crime of genocide as an act of aggression which of recent presented serious threats to international peace and security. This is because this crime when committed within a particular state lead to murder of innocent people to such alarming propositions that the international community could not ignore. Global incidences of the commission of the crime of genocide led to concerted efforts of the United Nations to make genocide an international crime so that its perpetrators could be brought to justice through punishment. On this note, this thesis aimed at examining the legal framework of the crime of genocide through the study of the various constitutive international instruments on the crime of
genocide and also that of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as the judicial institution responsible for fight against genocide in International Law. However, the statement of problem of this research is that following the recent experiences in the commission of the crime of genocide the international community has found it difficult to bring perpetrators for punishment before the international criminal court due to one reason or the other. For example, the consideration of the circumstances to be designated as genocide by the Rome Statute is not clear.
In addition, it is noteworthy to state here that, a fundamental issue which generated the interest of the writer in this area of research is that there is no corresponding will by states to prevent the commission of the crime or stop it from escalating. State parties and indeed even the United Nations always fail to use the term Genocide to describe hostilities that clearly fall within the meaning of the crime of Genocide. Thus, United Nations and state parties usually capitalize on the loopholes and inherent defects in the laws of Genocide to suit their political purposes. For instance the persistence of Genocide in Bangladesh, Uganda, Cambodia, Rwanda (Hutus and Tutsis) and Bosnian Muslims in the former Yugoslavia are testimonies of failure of intervention by the international community to stop high profile atrocities. Indeed, when ethnic cleansing was going on in the territory of former Yugoslavia, Darfur, Rwanda between Tutsis and Hutus, the United Nations, the US government and other countries were called upon to intervened but they failed. Against this backdrop therefore, the objective of this thesis was to identify the factors militating against the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide and to proffer possible measures solutions to addressing them; and further to consider the possibility of adopting same measures in Nigeria so as to eradicate instance of genocide in the country in view of the present Nigerian experiences. In view of this therefore, the finding of the writer was that the general weakness of international law constitutes a major problem of lack of enforcement to the institution of the punishment and prevention of genocide. In this regard, the writer concluded by recommending (among others) that the governments of Member States of the international community particularly the Security Council should be proactive, effective, prompt and jurisprudentially sound on the improvement and enforcement of the international legal processes that hold individuals accountable to the law so that, never again should would-be violators of these laws succeed in claiming that they are entitled to hide behind a wall of sovereignty.

 

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