Judicial Activism and the Crime of Genocide

William A Schabas

in Judicial Creativity at the International Criminal Tribunals

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199591466
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595585 | DOI:
Judicial Activism and the Crime of Genocide

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This chapter focuses on the influence of ‘judicial activism’ on the evolution of the crime of genocide. In stark contrast to the development of the definitional boundaries of crimes against humanity, the definition of genocide has not altered significantly since its formulation in the Genocide Convention of 1948. There have however, been a number of notable attempts at definitional expansion, starting with the findings of the District Court of Jerusalem (later supported by the Supreme Court of Israel) in the Eichmann case to the effect that the application of the doctrine of universal jurisdiction to genocide was implied under Article VI of the Convention. The chapter goes on to consider two more contemporary, if ultimately unsuccessful attempts in the Akayesu and Krstić cases. This examination highlights the dangers inherent in reliance on travaux préparatoires as a supplementary means of interpretation.

Keywords: international criminal law; international courts; crimes against humanity; crimes; genocide; judicial interpretation; Eichmann; boundaries of crimes; judicial activism

Chapter.  8324 words. 

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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