The Legacy of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
This year’s conference to mark the 75th anniversary of the Genocide Convention had the theme « A living force in global society: the legacy of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Every 9 December, the Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide marks the adoption of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide – a crucial global commitment that was made at the founding of the United Nations, immediately preceding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/323 of 29 September 2015, that day also became the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime.
At its landmark 75th anniversary this year, the Genocide Convention remains highly relevant. The 1948 Genocide Convention codified for the first time the crime of genocide in international law. Its preamble recognizes that “at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity” and that international cooperation is required to “liberate humankind from such an odious scourge”. To date, 153 States have ratified the Convention. Achieving universal ratification of the Convention, as well as ensuring its full implementation, remain essential for effectively advancing genocide prevention. The Genocide Convention includes the obligation not only to punish the crime of genocide but, crucially, to prevent it. In the 75 years since its adoption, the Genocide Convention has played an important role in the development of international criminal law, in holding perpetrators of this crime accountable, galvanizing prevention efforts, and in giving a voice to the victims of genocide…