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The Birth of the New JusticeThe Internationalization of Crime and Punishment, 1919-1950$
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Mark Lewis

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199660285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199660285.001.0001

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The Genocide Convention: The Gutting of Preventative Measures, 1946–48

The Genocide Convention: The Gutting of Preventative Measures, 1946–48

(p.181) 7 The Genocide Convention: The Gutting of Preventative Measures, 1946–48
The Birth of the New Justice

Mark A. Lewis

Oxford University Press

The creation of the U.N. Genocide Convention in 1946–48 was a response to gaps in the Nuremberg Judgment, as well as a way of combining minorities protection from the 1920s with criminological jurists’ ideas about using prosecution as a means of enforcement. The main drafters of the Genocide Convention—Polish jurist Raphael Lemkin, French jurist Henri Donnedieu de Vabres, and Romanian jurist Vespasien Pella—had all participated in the interwar movement to reform the laws of extradition and draw up new international criminal laws to ensure international security. However, while Lemkin and various non-governmental organizations lobbied for the convention, government negotiators made major changes to weaken the efficacy of the convention. Lemkin and his allies approved these changes, taking the position that passing a convention was better than nothing. However, the governments’ political priorities ultimately created a convention that did not require a permanent international criminal court for prosecution and did not contain specific guidelines for how the U.N. Security Council should conduct a genocide investigation. When the convention was completed in 1948, jurists expressed considerable skepticism about whether it could actually deter the crime.

Keywords:   United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, Raphael Lemkin, Vespasien Pella, Henri Donnedieu de Vabres, United Nations Commission on Human Rights, International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, International Law Commission, Platon Morozov, John Maktos

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