On August 5, 1941, in a radio broadcast following a three-day meeting at sea with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Churchill, referred to the atrocities perpetrated by Nazi Germany in its military campaign against the Soviet Union as "a crime without a name." This was almost six months before the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" became the official policy of the Third Reich. Four years later, on August 8, 1945, in London, the United States, Great Britain, the Soviet Union and France undertook to try certain "major war criminals" for crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Since then, crimes against humanity generally, and genocide specifically, have become codified in international law, and made the basis of precedent shattering tribunals.
In this course, we will be examining the historical, philosophical and political origins of statutes that outlaw crimes against humanity and genocide. We will then focus on aspects of the first post-World War II trial of the SS personnel at the Nazi concentration camps of Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, followed by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg; the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem; the trial in Tel Aviv of the head of the Jewish police of a Polish ghetto; the trial of former Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and related proceedings; as well as certain prosecutions before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, in particular those relating to incitement to genocide on the part of newspapers and radio broadcasters. We will be comparing and contrasting aspects of these trials. We will also discuss the impact of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and consider the development of the law relating to genocide and crimes against humanity over the course of the past 70 years and its contemporary implications. We will also be discussing the evolution of the law regarding the defense of superior orders (the so-called "Nuremberg Defense").
Class participation will constitute a significant element of the course evaluation. In addition there will be a short writing project which hopefully will be the basis of an oral presentation in class, as well as a comprehensive take home final exam.
The goal of the course is to provide the students with a broad awareness of the jurisprudential, historical, political, and social dimensions that underlie the ongoing efforts to criminalize and prosecute ethnically, religiously or racially motivated mass murder and related atrocities.
Section Offerings for 2012-13
|L6459-001||12F||The Law of Genocide|
|M. Rosensaft||W 4:20 PM-6:10 PM||WJWH L104|
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