Could forced expulsion ever be considered as falling within the scope of Article II of the Genocide Convention?

Author:Kirsty Nelson
Pages:1-8
1
Could forced expulsion ever be considered as falling within the scope
of Article II of the Genocide Convention?
Introduction
The prominence of mass violence, extermination and extreme discrimination in world
history engendered the concept of genocide, eventually defined by R. Lemkin in 1944.1
The most significant development of the concept came in the form of the United Nations
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1948
(hereinafter the Genocide Convention or Convention). Article II of the Genocide
Convention defines the crime of genocide. Case law from international institutions
endowed with the jurisdiction to prosecute the crime have been instrumental in
developing the definition and expanding the scope of genocide to include acts not
originally envisaged or expressly mentioned in the Convention. It is for this reason that
other acts, such as forced expulsion, could arguably fall under the scope of the Convention.
The current state of the law with regards to forced expulsion is that it is not an act of
genocide in itself, but could be a contributing factor in a system of acts constituting
genocide, or an indicator of the specific intent required for genocide. As will be discussed,
it is entirely likely that forced expulsion, as a lone act, will one day be considered to fall
under Article II of the Convention.
Genocide
Article II of the Genocide Convention defines genocide as any act found in (a)-(e) of the
provision, committed against a protected group with the intent to destroy that group, in
whole or in part. The strict scope of the provision is illustrated by the fact that the acts
included in Article II of the Convention are exhaustive. These are:
a) Killing members of the group;
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its
physical destruction in whole or in part;
1 Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation - Analysis of Government Proposals for Redress. (Carnegie
Endowment for International Peace, 1944).

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