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4 Int'l Crim. L. Rev. 65 (2004)
Proving and Punishing Genocide at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda

handle is hein.journals/intcrimlrb4 and id is 65 raw text is: International Criminal Law Review 4: 65-81, 2004.                       65
© 2004 Koninklijke Brill NV Printed in the Netherlands.
Proving and punishing genocide at the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda
JAMES MEERNIK*
Introduction
Genocide, the killing of a people, has occurred throughout human history.
Conquerors like the Assyrians, the Mongols, and the Crusaders committed
genocide in the course of war to eliminate their enemies. The term, geno-
cide was only coined in 1944 by the Polish jurist, Raphael Lemkin,' while
the act of genocide did not become criminalized until after World War 11.2
In December, 1948, states came together under the auspices of the United
Nations to pass the 'Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide'. After the Armenian genocide during World War I and in
the immediate aftermath of the Holocaust, humankind vowed that such acts
would never again happen. Unfortunately, genocides and genocidal acts con-
tinue to occur, most recently in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. But until
the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) in 1993 and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)
in 1994, there were no international courts to conduct trials for the crime
of genocide. Rather, trial and punishment were left in the hands of national
courts. Aside from Israel's trial of Adolf Eichmann, most judicial proceedings
in places like Romania and Equatorial Guinea were more like political show
trials than serious and fair efforts at discovering truth.3
* Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University
of North Texas. I am indebted to the staff of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda
for their advice and assistance in the summer of 2001. The views expressed herein are entirely
my own, as are any errors.
1 W. Schabas, Groups Protected by the Genocide Convention: Conflicting Interpreta-
tions from the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Journal of International and
Comparative Law 6 (2000, p. 376).
2 R. Smith, State Power and Genocidal Intent: On the Uses of Genocide in the Twentieth
Century in L. Chorbajian and G. Shirinian (eds.), Studies of Comparative Genocide (1999).
3 H. Fein, Introduction, in H. Fein (ed.), Genocide Watch (1992).

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