Genocide Convention : Status in India – UPSC GS2

What is genocide convention?
  • General assembly resolution against genocide was co-sponsored by Cuba and India.
  • This resulted in a Convention on prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide,1948 which came into effect in 1951 with more than 150 states party to the convention.
  • It has been signed and ratified by India.
  • Its provisions include:
    • Article I: prevent genocide and punish genocide
    • Article V: enact legislation to give effect to the convention, effective penalties for those guilty of the crime
    • Article VI: try those charged with genocide in a competent tribunal.
What is the international legal development related to the genocide convention?
  • Gambia initiated proceedings against Myanmar in International Court of Justice. It raised a key point that even though a state may not be affected, it can still raise the issue of genocide against each other state.
  • The ICJ had previously addressed the question of violation of genocide convention in Bosnia and Herzegovina v Serbia and Montenegro. In the final judgement, The court found a breach of the convention by Serbia.
What is the status of the genocide convention in India?
  • India still has not enacted any legislation in accordance with Article VI of the Genocide Convention.
  • India is in violation of its international obligation to criminalise genocide within its domestic law per Articles V, VI and VII.
  • Indian Penal Code provisions relating to rioting, unlawful assembly and ‘promoting enmity between different groups’ do not incorporate the basic elements of the crime of genocide.
  • The convention calls for prevention and creating the conditions in which such hate speech and other associated acts are not allowed to flourish, which may facilitate the commission of genocide. Indian laws do not consist of this key aspect of the Genocide Convention.
  • Given these, it is important to incorporate legal provisions against genocide into domestic laws.

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