Genocide: The complexity of genocidal intent
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Folkmord : Komplexiteten av folkmordsavsikt (Swedish)
Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide stipulates the definition of the crime. A key element of genocide is the criterion of “intent”; this requisite must be met in order to determine criminal liability. Even though “intent” is a paramount element of the crime neither definition nor guidance regarding its interpretation is provided for under Article II, this void of interpretation is absolute throughout the Genocide Convention. Hence, the purpose of this thesis is to examine this void in the provision. In order to fulfill the purpose of this thesis the following research questions have been regarded: How is the requisite intent defined in relevant preparatory work of Genocide Convention? How is the requisite intent interpreted in relevant case law and judicial doctrines and are these interpretations in line with the preparatory work of the Genocide Convention? Is the definition and interpretation of the requisite intent in the abovementioned legal sources consistent with the object and purpose of the Genocide Convention?
We found that in the preparatory work of the Genocide Convention, the requisite intent has not been labeled. However, the Drafters definition of intent is in accordance with international criminal law’s definition of specific intent.
Also, the case law and judicial doctrines that we have examined all fall within either the purpose-based or the knowledge-based approach. Both approaches acknowledge that a perpetrator needs to possess an inner aim or desire to meet the level of intent required for the Crime. Notwithstanding, the knowledge-based approach holds that “policy or plan” is part of the Crime whereas the purpose-based approach rejects it and consequently the application of genocidal intent is distinctively different.
With regard to preparatory work, the purpose-based approach is in line with the definition of the Drafters whereas the knowledge-based approach is not in its literal meaning. However, the Drafters did not explicitly reject the knowledge-based approach in the preparatory work of the Genocide Convention.
We have concluded that the purpose-based approach is not consistent with the object and purpose of the Genocide Convention. We hold that the knowledge-based approach is in line with the object and purpose of the Genocide Convention, and hence this approach upholds the goal of preventing and punishing genocide.
Moreover, the method for this thesis is in accordance with the method in international law for interpretations of international treaties; the Vienna Convention on the law of Treaties. Hence, the selection, systemization and interpretation of legal sources are in line with the Vienna Convention.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 51 p.
Örebro Studies in Law
genocide, genocidal intent, specific intent, dolus specialis, intent
folkmord, avsikt, folkmordsavsikt
Law (excluding Law and Society)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-23523OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-23523DiVA: diva2:534396
Subject / course
UppsokSocial and Behavioural Science, Law
Engdahl, Ola, Universitetsadjunkt
Lyles, Max, Universitetslektor