Genocide and Political Groups

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Oxford University Press, 2010 - Law - 329 pages
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Genocide and Political Groups provides a comprehensive examination of the crime of genocide in connection with political groups. It offers a detailed empirical study of the current status of political groups under customary international law, as well as a comprehensive theoretical analysis of whether political genocide should be recognized as a separate crime by the international community.

The book discusses whether a stand-alone crime of political genocide should be recognized under international law. It begins by examining the historical development of genocide and critically assessing the unique requirements of the crime. It then demonstrates that other international offences -notably crimes against humanity and war crimes- are not workable substitutes for a specific offence that protects political groups.

This is followed by an analytical study of the protection of human groups under international law. The book proposes a new theory that links the protection of groups to individual rights of a certain character that give rise to the group's existence. It then applies that theory in evaluating whether political groups are legitimate candidates for specific protection from physical and biological destruction 'as such'.

The writing includes an exhaustive analysis of state practice and opinio juris on the treatment of political groups. It empirically refutes claims that political groups are protected already from genocide by virtue of post-Convention developments in customary international law. In response to this legal reality, however, the book analyses the theoretical and public policy justifications for international criminal law and demonstrates that the international community would be well served by creating a separate international crime to address political genocide.

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About the author (2010)


David Nersessian currently is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Boston University School of Law, where he previously taught for many years as an adjunct faculty member. Prior to joining BU Law's faculty, he was Executive Director of Harvard Law School's Program on the Legal Profession. He earned his D. Phil in Law from Oxford University (St. Catherine's College), where his research concentrated in public international law, international criminal law and genocide. Prior to his doctoral work, Dr. Nersessian practiced for many years as a litigation attorney with large law firms in the United States after graduating magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law in 1995.

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