ICRC databases on international humanitarian law
  • Print page
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, 9 December 1948.

The Convention on Genocide was among the first United Nations conventions addressing humanitarian issues. It was adopted in 1948 in response to the atrocities committed during World War II and followed G.A. Res. 180(II) of 21 December 1947 in which the UN recognised that "genocide is an international crime, which entails the national and international responsibility of individual persons and states." The Convention has since then been widely accepted by the international community and ratified by the overwhelmingly majority of States.

The jurisprudence of the International Court of Justice considers the prohibition of genocide as peremptory norms of international law ( see Reservations to the Convention on Genocide, 1951 I.C.J. Rep. 15, 23; see also Case Concerning Barcelona Traction, Light and Power Co. (Belg. v. Spain), 1970 I.C.J., Rep. 3, 32). Moreover, the ICJ recognises that the principles underlying the Convention are principles which are recognised by civilised nations binding on States, even without any conventional obligation.

Noteworthy, the Convention provides for a precise definition of the crime of genocide, in particular in terms of the required intent and the prohibited acts (Article II). It also specifies that the crime of genocide may be committed in time of peace or in time of war.
     
 
General Assembly of the United Nations

yes

12.01.1951

09.12.1948, New York

09.12.1948

United Nations

19

English, Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian

United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 78, p. 277

Full text