Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Checklist and responsibility

Erna Paris, in Long Shadows: Truth, Lies 
and History:
Following the thinking of the jurist Raphael Lemkin, genocide was defined in 1948 as 'acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group,' while other crimes against humanity concerned offences such as murder, enslavement, deportation, rape and torture committed during armed conflict and directed against a civilian population. The next category -- violations of the laws of war and the Geneva Conventions -- included the wanton destruction of cities, towns or villages, or any devastation not justified by military necessity, and wilful damage done to institutions dedicated to religion and education, the arts and sciences, historic monuments and works of art.

Interview with Louise Arbour: 'In our tribunal, we look only at personal criminal responsibility in a very tightly defined, narrow way and we demand proof beyond a reasonable doubt about the involvement of the individual. We do not have a mandate to establish the moral responsibility of those who saw things happen and did nothing, including people who might have had the capacity to stop the process and did nothing. But we have to be careful in thinking that just because we focus on individual criminal guilt we therefore absolve the community.'

Image source here.