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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

Chapter 8 - Toward an Account of Systemic Genocide


It may well be that the inadequacies riddling the Conventional account of genocide prove insurmountable – including the failure to prohibit stand-alone cultural genocide which, we have argued in the preceding chapter, so profoundly undermines the treaty’s purpose and object of protecting human group viability. Our own view is that while we must rely upon the Conventional account of genocide for some of the things it is able to do, such as to hold génocidaires, at least in some instances, criminally responsible for the atrocities they enact, and to chip away at certain genocide denials in other cases, this cannot help but fall markedly short of what is required if we are to effectively address and prevent human rights violations of this magnitude. This would be true even if the expansive interpretation of the Conventional account were to entrench itself more deeply and ultimately displace the restrictive interpretation of genocide. The reason is that the Conventional account of genocide is a legal tool, designed for specific legal ends which were themselves constrained by the politics of power that prevailed among the post-war community of states charged with the Convention’s drafting.