Volume 51

A Crime Universally Acknowledged

by Beth Zelman

Following World War II, the international community acknowledged its obligation to both prevent and punish genocide. It accomplished the latter through the establishment of courts and tribunals with the authority to exert universal jurisdiction over the crime of genocide. However, efforts to prevent genocide generally took the form of soft law or were part of much broader human rights initiatives that lacked substantive enforcement mechanisms. Consequently, the international community has struggled to fulfill its full range of obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) and new initiatives must be implemented to bolster established treaties and programs.

An examination of one of the most recent incidents of genocide reveals that the exercise of free speech can be an extremely effective tool in the fight to both expose and prevent genocidal acts. However, those who exercise this right often suffer grave personal consequences. Included in this Note is a proposed resolution that would promote the exercise of free speech and criminalize the suppression of such speech when it is used to expose or combat genocide.

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