5 Int'l Crim. L. Rev. 401 (2005)
The Prohibition of Genocide as a Norm of Ius Cogens and Its Implications for the Enforcement of the Law of Genocide

handle is hein.journals/intcrimlrb5 and id is 409 raw text is: International Criminal Law Review 5: 401-416, 2005.              401
 2005 Koninklijke Brill NV Printed in the Netherlands.
The Prohibition of Genocide as a Norm of Ius Cogens and Its
Implications for the Enforcement of the Law of Genocide
JAN WOUTERS* AND STEN VERHOEVEN*
Introduction
This contribution aims to investigate how the prohibition of genocide can be
easily and more swiftly enforced by focusing on the allegedly peremptory
nature of this prohibition. In the first part, it will be demonstrated that geno-
cide, as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention),' is peremptorily prohibited in
international law. Secondly, the relation between ius cogens and obligations
erga omnes will be established and the practical consequences of this corol-
lary examined. In particular, the focus will be placed on the ability to launch
a case against States violating the prohibition of genocide before the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) and to impose countermeasures.
The Prohibition of Genocide as a Norm of Ius Cogens
Definition of Ius Cogens
The concept of ius cogens (or peremptory norms) first appeared in the
Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT),2 where it was defined as
a norm accepted and recognized by the international community of States as a
whole as a norm from which no derogation is permitted and which can be mod-
ified only by a subsequent norm of general international law having the same
character.3 Although some authors had mentioned the existence of peremptory
* Professor of International Law and the Law of International Organizations, KU Leuven;
Of Counsel, Linklaters De Bandt, Brussels.
** Assistant, Institute for International Law, KU Leuven.
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), United
Nations Treaty Series, Vol. 78, 277.
2 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (1969), United Nations Treaty Series, Vol.
1155,331.
3 Art. 53 VCLT.

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