Prevention of genocide under International law: An analysis of the obligations of States and the United Nations to prevent genocide at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels

Etienne Ruvebana

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Genocide is the crime of crimes which shocks the conscience of mankind because of the unspeakable damages and pains it causes. This research investigates the topic of the prevention of that crime under international law and more particularly the extent of the obligation to prevent genocide under the Genocide Convention and customary international law. Although, in public international law there is an obligation to prevent genocide, what this obligation entails has not received much attention in scholarly works and in practice. Even in the recent scholarly debates on this topic, the focus has been on intervention at stages when genocide is about to be committed or is being committed, ignoring prevention at early stages. Yet, prevention at early stages seems to be required in order to effectively reduce risks of genocide. Drawing upon other fields as well as the 2007 Genocide judgment of the International Court of Justice for the analysis of the concept of prevention and the obligation to prevent genocide, this research puts forward a distinction between primary, secondary and tertiary levels of prevention and analyses and applies the obligation to prevent genocide by states and the UN within that temporal structure of prevention. This research contributes to the clarification of the legal obligation to prevent genocide by filling it with concrete international legal means to be taken by states and the UN at each level, and by suggesting improvements which include the creation of national and international institutions to actively promote and monitor the prevention of genocide.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Brus, Marcel, Supervisor
  • de Hoogh, André, Co-supervisor
Award date12-Jun-2014
Place of Publication[S.l.]
Print ISBNs978-90-367-7096-5
Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-7095-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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