The Crime of All Crimes: Genocide's Primacy in International Criminal Law
Edmonds, Chloe Rose
In the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda’s final judgment of Prosecutor v. Akayesu, genocide was declared to be “the crime of all crimes.” Since Raphael Lemkin’s conceptualization of the crime of genocide in Axis Rule in Occupied Europe (1944), the crime of genocide has gained primacy within international law. Taking into account the historical and political incentives of the creation of the United Nations Genocide Convention, the research conducted analyzes how genocide gained primacy in both international and national tribunals, and how this primacy impacts witnesses, victims, and defendants in genocide tribunals. Case studies examined include the ad hoc UN tribunals for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and Rwanda (ICTR), as well as the national tribunals in Cambodia and Argentina. Using both statistical and qualitative analysis, the research strongly suggests that genocide’s primacy is imbedded within international criminal law, and as such, is prosecuted with more fervor and seen to be of greater importance than other crimes. The impact of genocide’s primacy on defendants include altered duration of trial proceedings and lengthened sentences. Additionally, civil societies seek prosecution of genocide rather than crimes against humanity or war crimes for their suffering to be validated. This paper ascertains that legally genocide has primacy over other crimes, but further explores if genocide should have primacy over crimes against humanity.
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.