1.1 Background of the Study
International crime such as genocides, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crime of aggression have always presented serious threats to international peace and security. Such crimes which often committed within a particular state always have a spill-over effect in other states (by way of displacement of persons) and; such crimes also have the potential to engulf an entire region in crises (by way of refugees) and perpetration of more atrocities (such as rape, looting and etcetera). The prevalence of these events is not new to the world. This is because events before the advent of the United Nations Charter in 1945, showed that conflicts starting in a particular region of a particular continent can spread to engulf the neighboring region or even the world at large because at that time wars are considered to be the only solution of resolving conflicts.
Consequently, such wars paved way for the commission of other crimes such as loss of life or injury to civilians, wide spread and severe damage to the environment, attacking and bombarding by whatever means to towns and villages, torture, persecution enslavement and indirect transfer of civilian population all of which are considered to be crimes in violation of the existing international law and in particular the principles of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) within the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and its two Additional 1977 Protocols together with the Hague Regulations. Indeed, the concern of punishing the offenders for the purposes of deterring further occurrence in the
International Legal Order prompted the researchers interest to delve into one aspect of these crimes, which is the crime of genocide.
Genocide is generally considered one of the worst moral crimes a government or a ruling authority be it a guerilla group, a guise state terrorist organization etc can commit against its citizen or those it controls it also refer to mass killing or murder with intent to destroy a designed group of people1. This is because of the lesson learnt by the form of holocaust which was the systematic attempt of German authorities during the World War
- to kill people and particularly every Jew no matter where found destroyed groups estimated between 5-6 million. This murder of the Jews became the paradigm case of genocide and underlies the origin of the word.
Alarmed by this spate of killing in both local and international conflict an attempt was made finally by the international community through the UN to make genocide an international crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. This flagrant violation of humanity led to the adoption by the UN‟s General Assembly, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide 1948 and most recently the signing into being of the International Criminal Court in 2002.
AN EXAMINATION OF THE CRIME OF GENOCIDE IN INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW