Genocide

Context:

  • In the last few weeks, incendiary speeches by Yati Narsinghanand at a religious assembly have reignited discussion regarding hate speech, and the limits of the law.
  • The speeches made include calls for the genocide of Muslims in India and can be seen as part of an ongoing pattern of targeting minorities.

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 1948:

  • Even though there are no domestic laws wrt Genocide, India is legally obliged to an international convention, that is Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 1948, which India has signed and ratified.
  • In 1946, Cuba, India and Panama co-sponsored General Assembly Resolution 96(I), which affirmed genocide as a ‘crime under international law’.
  • As a result of this resolution, a convention on the prohibition of genocide was drafted, which was passed by the General Assembly in 1948 and came into effect in 1951, with more than 150 states party to the convention presently.
  • Legal obligations on states that are party to the convention include the obligation not to commit genocide, to prevent genocide, and to punish genocide(Article I), to enact legislation to give effect to the provisions of the convention (Article V); to provide for effective penalties for those found guilty of criminal conduct (Article V); and the obligation to try those charged with genocide in a competent tribunal (Article VI).
  • India was an early and key sponsor of the General Assembly resolution condemning genocide and confirming its status as an international crime.
  • However, since signing the Genocide Convention and ratifying it, to date India has not enacted any legislation in accordance with Article VI of the Genocide Convention.
  • At the outset, India is in violation of its international obligation to criminalize genocide within its domestic law per Articles V, VI and VII, and to take all means to ensure the prevention of genocide.

Significant legal development

  • It is also worth noting a significant and recent international legal development relating to the Genocide Convention.
  • The Gambia has initiated proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar on the basis of the Convention.
  • The ICJ previously addressed the question of violation of the Genocide Convention in the Case Concerning the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Bosnia and Herzegovina v. Serbia and Montenegro).
  • In its final judgment in 2007 the court found a failure to prevent genocide by Serbia. The breaches of the Genocide Convention related to the obligations to prevent and the lack of cooperation, but not for the commission of genocide.

Source: THE HINDU.

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