Raphael Lemkin & the United Nations Genocide Convention
Who is Raphael Lemkin? • Raphael Lemkin was a Polish Lawyer of Jewish decent • Coined the term Genocide to describe the massacre of the Holocaust and what happened in 1915 to the Armenians
What is Lemkin’s background? • He was born on June 24 1900 on a farm 50 miles of Bezwodene, Poland. • He read about the conquests of the Roman Empire, about killing people because of difference. He asked his mother but she said you have to find the answer himself. • He became a lawyer and moved to Warsaw before the Holocaust and coined the term Genocide.
What is the origin of the term GENOCIDE? • GENO = Greek for Tribe, Family or Race • CIDE = Latin, means for killing
What is Lemkin’s definition of Genocide? Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: • Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
What are Lemkin’s credentials for working on the UN Genocide Convention? • He wanted to make a war crime because of certain events throughout the ages • The Holocaust , which his family was virtually exterminated • Assistant to the Nuremberg prosecution lawyers • Professor of Law at Yale University
What happened to Lemkin after his work on the Genocide Convention? • Although nominated 5 times for a Nobel Peace Prize, he never received one • His future works of history were not published • He lived in utter poverty and died due to illness in August of 1959 • No monument at the UN for him • Lemkin’s tombstone states: “Father of the Genocide Convention”
Lemkin’s legacy … • Lemkin’swork is proof that one man can make a difference. Lemkin made the world conscious that there is such a mega-crime as gnocide and that the international community is responsible for making sure it does not continue to be perpetrated.
What is the UN Convention? • UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide… a treaty whereby countries came together to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and peace times. • International treaty adopted by the UN and 140 members states to date.
When was the UN Genocide Convention adpoted? • The convention was approved for signature and ratification or accession on December 9th 1948. But it was first put into effect on January 12 1951.
What motive was there for this Convention to be adopted? • The reason they adopted the Genocide convention is because at the time they realized how much of an effect it had on countries in the fast such as: • Armenian Genocide • The WW2 Holocaust • but its main reason is to prevent it from happening again
What is the UN Genocide Convention definition of “genocide”? • It means to prevent any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. A) Killing members of the group • B) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group • C) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; • D) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group • E)Forcibly transferring children of the group to another
What are the criticisms about this definition of genocide? • There are some, because they did miss some stuff in the definition of “groups” like intellectual group, political group, economic group of people … • Ex: Cambodia / Darfur