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The Handbook of Global Security Policy by Mary Kaldor, Iavor Rangelov

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Chapter 8 Genocide and Large-Scale Human Rights Violations

Martin Shaw

In the post-Cold War era, the idea of global policy to prevent and punish genocide and crimes against humanity has finally begun to be realized, involving a multiplicity of agencies and initiatives. However, genocidal violence and other rights violations remain recurring problems in the twenty-first century world, and existing policy frameworks are by no means adequate to the challenge that they pose. In this chapter, I shall discuss the scope of these problems in the current period and of the various forms of global policy to address them, but first I shall define the conceptual and historical parameters of the problem.

The idea of global policy to prevent genocide dates to December 1946, when the United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed Resolution 96(1) defining genocide as a crime and initiating a process of drafting a convention to ban it. Two years later, in December 1948, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, at the same time as it adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although the lawyer, Raphael Lemkin, who had developed the idea of genocide only four years earlier (Lemkin, 1944), claimed that the Convention was superior to the Declaration because it had the force of law, for more than four decades it seemed that the former's capacity for enforcement was no greater than the latter's, and that the Convention's main significance ...

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