posts 16 - 23 of 23
coolcat16
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

The Genocide Convention and 'A Problem from Hell'

Raphael Lemkin, the main who coined the term “genocide” and stood up for what he believed no matter the cost, was avery influential man. In the film Watchers of the Sky Lemkin says, “crime should not be punished by victims but should be punished by law.” This quote is especially important, because it's something that has happened for many years. Victims shouldn't have to hold the perpetrators accountable for what they have done. They shouldn't have to remind people of the atrocities committed. Raphel Lemkin's point was that there should be policies in place to hold people accountable when they commit war crimes, and that victims need someone to stand up for themselves, because after all they are the victims. The establishment of this law is so important because it is the first step to as a world trying to stop future genocides from ever happening. For this same reason it's so important to actually act upon the laws put in the palace to punish perpetrators and nations. The world needs to know that there have been many genocides throughout history, and many have been purposefully hidden; hopefully with more rules put in place, it becomes harder to commit war crimes such as genocide.

There are many issues revolving the Genocide Convention, but a big one is that of sovereignty. Nations have supreme control over their states or countries, which makes it difficult or even impossible to intervene when they're committing such horrendous crimes. Limits on sovereignty should've established, because no one nations should have supreme rule over their nation, especially if they commit genocide. It's difficult to say who should have a say in what rules should be put in place, but I think with individuals such as Samantha powers and Rapahel Lemkin that have such immense power, we are in good hands. Individuals who don't give up and are set on correcting the world's wrongs influence many organizations and other people to contribute to the cause. Sadly, we do not live in a perfect world, and the ultimate rule comes up to the government, and what they decide they should do. Article VII says, “Any Contracting Party may call upon the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in article III.” Once again, individuals don't have much say in the matter of accusing or bringing up war crimes to attention, but if they can get the attention of the people, protests, organizations, and media could cause a real change.

Dak Prescott
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 8

Genocide Convention

The establishment and enforcement of international in regard to genocide is vital to cease further ethnic tension and get proper and fair justice for the victims. With a proper definition of genocide as a crime against humanity, it can help quell any further violence from erupting from such actions. Because the UN can arrest the perpetrators and deal justice without crossing over into unnecessary violence or revenge. A proper investigation that can only come under the law leads to closure for any victims and proper punishment gives them justice. This definition under the law also gives way for further historical analysis of war crimes of the past to help prevent war crimes of the future.


The issue of sovereignty is the most difficult philosophical question when any international law is to be enacted. The UN has so much power that any overstep into a member nation could lead to its collapse. Due to past cases of large countries such as the US and USSR using smaller countries such as Vietnam as proxy wars leading to generational issues the issue of sovereignty cannot be dismissed. However when it comes to genocide, nations should be willing to give up some sovereignty to allow for some investigation by the international community. Every nation that joins the UN knows that it is giving up some sovereignty for the political power the comes with being a UN member nation, so some freedoms to sovereignty must be given up if a nation is accused of genocide.


People such as, Lemkin, Henry Morganthau, Romeo Dalliare and Samantha Power; allow for a more in formal investigation into claims of genocide. However unfortunate even though genocide is now a crime there are still genocides happening today. Genocides in the modern age are committed in a way to specifically get around the genocide convention, and exploit international law, political connections, and economic insentives. So, people such as Samantha Power, investigative journalists, are the only ones who can enter a country and report on the reality to the masses, because individuals are not subjected to the entangled economic and political alliances that stop countries from preventing genocide.

リーパー
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 10

Where does it end? The Genocide Convention and 'A Problem from Hell'

The effects of the Genocide Convention are seldom felt throughout historical events due to the reluctance of perpetrator nations in allowing the UN workers to do their job. Within a country's borders, that country is allowed to do as they please due to their sovereignty as a nation-state. UN soldiers are not to engage in combat with any military forces of any country to appear as an international authority that doesn't take sides, thus they are unable to act effectively within any given state. Perpetrator nations will continue to blow off the warnings because they are aware that no other nation would dare commit ground forces to meddle with international affairs. To fix this, there should likely be an upper limit on how much power an individual nation has over their citizens. As the Genocide Convention notes, intentionally causing harm to members of a group is constituted as genocide. To avoid this, there should likely be a line drawn at the point of sovereignty where intentional harm to citizens in general is acceptable. An international intervention on these premises can be justified with the reasoning of preserving human rights. The problem now is still how to enforce the ruling. Powerful nations such as the United States seem like contenders, but they may be unwilling to give up soldiers for such a cause. Thus, the best course of action may have to be some combined peacekeeping force of multiple countries with a size proportional to the individual country's population or military budget. Perhaps a relatively small price to pay to prevent future atrocities.

Individual efforts can help a great deal predominantly in making it public when a genocide is present or imminent. Samantha Power is a great example of this, performing journalism covering the struggles of the Bosniak people. The efforts of individuals are important, as they unfortunately are usually the only way to make the governments of the world care about an issue, but the individual efforts can only go so far. To really make a difference, both the individual and the government must work together, as the government has far more resources and political power.

Mapa307
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

With the phrase “crime should not be punished by victims but should be punished by law,” Rafael Lemkin explained that victims should not have to fight for justice on their own. His statement also explains why we need a Genocide Convention: without one, the international community cannot be forced to punish and prevent genocide, making future genocides more possible. In addition, To hammer down this point, Lemkin included Article I in the convention, which asserts that all signatories of the convention (most of the world) will work to both prevent and punish genocide.


However, in every genocide that has taken place since the convention, the United States (a powerful signatory) has failed to prevent genocide, despite undeniable evidence, and unfortunately, the US is not unique: the international community as a whole abandoned the victims of both the Bosnian Genocide and the Rwandan Genocide, and our failures to act have severely weakened the Genocide Convention. For example, in the film Watchers of the Sky and her book A Problem from Hell, Samantha Powers explains that Bosnian Serb leaders perfectly understood that the US was not going to intervene in the Bosnian Genocide. Bosnian Serb leaders were so confident that they could literally get away with murder that they even taunted the US with “another Vietnam.” Clearly, when nations do not work to prevent genocide before or while it is happening, even if they punish the perpetrators in the aftermath (as happened in Bosnia), the Genocide Convention is rendered useless.


Another sticking point with the Genocide Convention is its conflict (to an admittedly small degree) with nations’ sovereignty: in order to effectively prevent and later punish genocide, it is sometimes necessary for the UN and the international community to overstep a nation’s sovereignty. Understandably, nations are hesitant to do this, but preventing and stopping genocide must be a priority. Unfortunately, determining who gets to intervene in another nation’s affairs is a new issue, exacerbated by the legacy of colonialism. Emphasizing this point, many of the countries that have not signed on to the Genocide Convention have been colonized by Western European powers (for example: Kenya was under British colonial rule and the Dominican Republic was under Spanish colonial rule).


With all of this information, I think the only way to safely grant the international community the power to overstep a nation’s sovereignty in order to prevent, stop, and punish genocide is to first prove that the most powerful nations, such as the US, honestly have good intentions. However, it would be naive to think that any nation has solely good intentions for others.

cherrycola
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 9

The Genocide Convention and 'A Problem from Hell'

Raphael Lemkin, a prominent figure in which we look up to, to this day has put his efforts into resolving the issue of genocide throughout the world, to create the renowned Genocide Convention, one that the world deems as extremely important. Because of this attribution, we can protect the lives of innocent people and give justice to victims that have fallen due to excruciating circumstances. Lemkin's assertion, "Crime should not be punished by victims but should be punished by law," underscores his conviction that the responsibility for addressing genocide should rest on the shoulders of the international legal system rather than individual survivors. However, even with the many years that the Genocide Convention has existed, and even with the many efforts that have been put into it to fully enact it, the effects of it remain extremely limited; almost as if it doesn’t exist at all.


The idea, and the issue of sovereignty has been a prominent factor in deciding what the next actions are when dealing with a global issue. Because of countries desire to stay sovereign, the UN or NATO are unable to fully pick a side nor fully aid the side being oppresed--not only do they have to remain neutral, but they are unable to fully involve themselves within issues like civil war, or genocide.

To address this challenge, modification of sovereignty norms need to be enacted in order to allow for greater international intervention in cases of genocide. This could involve the establishment of mechanisms for authorized intervention by regional or international bodies, such as the United Nations Security Council, when states fail to protect their populations from genocide. However, such measures raise complex questions regarding the balance between sovereignty and intervention, as well as concerns about potential abuse of intervention powers.

Individuals such as Lemkin, Henry Morgenthau, Romeo Dallaire, and Samantha Power play crucial roles in holding perpetrators of genocide accountable and advocating for meaningful action to prevent future atrocities. Their efforts, whether through legal advocacy, diplomatic pressure, or public awareness campaigns, contribute to shaping international responses to genocide and ensuring that perpetrators are held accountable for their crimes. While the role of nations in preventing, stopping, and punishing genocide is undeniably important, the efforts of individuals and human rights organizations serve as a vital complement, often driving political will and mobilizing public support for action against genocide. Ultimately, addressing genocide requires a multi-faceted approach that leverages the collective efforts of individuals, states, and international institutions to uphold the principles of justice and human dignity.

blotitout
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 10

Genocide Convention and A Problem From Hell response

When Raphael Lemkin says that "Crime should not be punished by victims but...by law" he means that it is not the responsibility of the victims of genocide to seek justice for the crimes that were perpetrated against them but instead that some sort of international court of law must be responsible for doing so. The opening of the convention on the prevention of genocide states that "in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required". The code of laws which Lemkin helped to create follows this ideal because it specifically opens by placing the responsibility of upholding said laws on an entity formed by cooperating nations. The establishment of these laws is important because it sets a clear standard for what is acceptable internationally and also outlines what actions cooperating nations must be willing to take to prevent future crimes, particularly emphasizing "effective penalties for persons guilty of genocide". Proper punishment should be the responsibility of a larger body rather than the victims of these crimes because it ensures a systematic and cooperative approach to getting justice. If justice cannot be ensured then this creates a bad precedent that leads perpetrators to believe that they will not have to face justice, making these offenses more likely to occur.

Although Lemkin's efforts to establish international laws for the prevention of genocide were successful on paper, they have not been effective in properly stopping the act of genocide or even properly attaining justice when it occurs. Issues of sovereignty and national interest often makes it so nations are unwilling to expend the proper resources necessary to properly address the issue, unfortunately creating a snowball effect in which the inability to properly punish perpetrators makes it more likely for the crime to continue happening. It is clear that something must be done in order to prevent nations from allowing their own interests to stop them from pursuing justice, and since most nations are unwilling to do what is necessary to make this happen of their own accord, some sort of agreement must be made that somehow forces or at the very least encourages nations to comply.

nicehair85
Posts: 11
Lemkin means that the bodies of government should hold themselves accountable rather than be held accountable by the people they did wrong. This is shown by the one of the conventions stating that even the ruler has to be held accountable to the rules and be punished the same if he violates them. This international law is an important step because it does not matter whether or not a government is held accountable unless they themselves do it. If they deny it happened or if they deny that it was not a big deal, then they are doomed to repeat it again. This is because they do not see anything wrong with that. They just see it as a slap on the wrist but nothing more than that because they did not see if it was wrong for themselves. The enforcement of this law is even more important for many reasons, one being that if this rule is ignored or not abided to, what is stopping them from not listening to the other rules. All rules should be followed, it should not be picked and chosen. The effects remained limited though since it is very difficult to enforce. Furthermore, sovereignty of a nation limits what they convention could really do since they cannot overstep. The ways to punish are difficult since there is the possibility of conflict. Obviously, armed resolutions will only lead to more conflict. Embargos and such things can work but that can raise tenstions. On top of the possiblity of war, it is harming the people of the nation who most of the time had nothing to do with the crimes. Sovereignty is the main threat of conflict when it comes to punishment and enforcement. The convention cannot overstep and take away the general, for example, by abducting them. They would need permission from the state. Limits on sovereignty should be established but it would be difficult to do so without taking the free will of a nation. Once the limits are taken, is it really their own nation anymore? This question alone would cause resistance. Individual like Lemkin play a huge part in holding people accountable for the crime of genocide since they can entirely on this one topic without being distracted. They also are the people and have nothing to gain except protection without diminishing anybody else’s. Nevertheless, both organizations and the people are important as shown with creation of the geneva convention since lemkin received help. Lemkin could not have done it without assistance. It eases the burden and shows that it is a group effort instead of an individual.
Vines&Roses
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 5

No improvement without consensus

Raphael Lemkin, a name synonymous with tireless advocacy for human rights, is best remembered for his pivotal role in the creation of the 1948 Genocide Convention. His profound statement, “Crime should not be punished by victims but should be punished by law,” encapsulates his vision for a world where justice is not a personal vendetta but a systemic responsibility. Lemkin’s words underscore the necessity for an impartial legal framework that transcends individual suffering to address crimes against humanity on a global scale. The establishment of the Genocide Convention was indeed a monumental step forward. It provided the first international legal definition of genocide and set a precedent for collective action against such atrocities. This was crucial because it acknowledged that genocide is not just a crime against individuals or groups but an offense against humanity as a whole. By defining genocide and establishing a legal mechanism for its presentation and punishment, the convention aimed to deter would-be perpetrators and ensure accountability. However, despite Lemkin’s efforts and the adoption of the convention, its effectiveness has been limited. One of the primary reasons is the principle of sovereignty, which holds that states have the right to govern themselves without external interference. This principle often hinders international action against genocide, as nations are reluctant to intervene in the internal affairs of others, even to prevent mass atrocities. The tension between respecting state sovereignty and protecting human rights remains a significant challenge in preventing genocide. To address this, there have been calls to establish limits on sovereignty, particularly when it comes to preventing and stopping genocide. The concept of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) emerged as a response, suggesting that if a state fails to protect its citizens from genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes, the international community has a responsibility to intervene. However, questions remain about how these limits should be established and modified, and by whom. Especially because of all of the legality and rules and technicalities when it comes to calling something a genocide or war crime. Any changes to the principle of sovereignty would require broad international consensus and reevaluation of the United Nations Charter itself. From last events with the U.S. and agreeing I feel like it is very unlikely for there to be a consensus because there are always a few states that never agree, cough cough Texas cough cough Southern states. For years there have been struggles to create a consensus within the U.S. which was the purpose of the freedom to govern themselves.


Individuals like Lemkin, Henry Morgenthau, Romeo Dallaire, and Samantha Power have played vital roles in holding people accountable for the crime of genocide. Their efforts highlight the power of individual conscience and moral courage in the face of bureaucratic inertia and political indifferences. These figures, along with numerous human rights organizations, have been instrumental in raising awareness, documenting atrocities, and pressing for action. While the roles of nations are critical in enacting and enforcing laws, the relentless pursuit of justice by individuals and non-governmental entities is equally important. They serve as the moral compass of the international community, often being the first to call attention to emerging crises and the last to remain when the world moves on. In conclusion, while the Genocide Convention stands as a testament to Raphael Lemkin’s legacy, the ongoing struggle against genocide requires both robust international laws and the unwavering commitment of individuals and organizations. The enforcement of laws against genocide is paramount, as it serves not only as a means of retribution but also as a deterrent for future crimes. As we continue to grapple with the complexities of sovereignty and intervention, the voices of those who fight for justice remind us that our shared humanity demands action, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

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