Duhaime's Law Dictionary


Genocide Definition:

Systematic killing of persons because of their ethnicity.

Related Terms: War Crimes, Hate Crime, Crimes Against Humanity

From the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court:

"Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group, as such:

  • Killing members of the group;
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (or)
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

genocide posterThis definition is inspired by the United Nations 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

Several jurisdictions now have domestic legislation allowing for the prosecution of "genocide".

The US Code, at Title 18, ¶1091, defines genocide as follows:

"Whether in time of peace or in time of war, ... with the specific intent or in an attempt to do so, destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such

kills members of that group;

causes serious bodily injury to members of that group;

causes the permanent impairment of the mental faculties of members of the group through drugs, torture, or similar techniques;

subjects the group to conditions of life that are intended to cause the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part;

imposes measures intended to prevent births within the group; or

transfers by force children of the group to another group...."

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