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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Again, and Again, and Again: Why We Fail in the Face of Genocide


After the exposure of the Nazi atrocities against ethnic and religious groups in World War II, the international community declared that it would never stand for such violence again. To this end, the member states of the United Nations passed the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948. Yet, despite this codification of international law pertaining to genocide and genocide-like crimes, these crimes continue to abound, leaving no recent decade untouched. This thesis seeks to understand the reasons for the continuing prevalence of genocide and genocide-like crimes through an analysis of the body of genocide law, the actualities of state practice in the current international system, and the United Nations’ ideology and practices. In closing, it presents a series of recommendations intended to increase the prevention, suppression, and prosecution of genocide and genocide-like crimes.

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