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What does “intent to destroy” in genocide mean?

31-12-2009 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 876, by Kai Ambos

The prevailing view in the case-law interprets the respective “intent to destroy” requirement as a special or specific intent (dolus specialis) stressing its volitional or purpose-based tendency. A historical, literal, systematic and teleological interpretation of the “intent to destroy” requirement, taking into account the particular structure of the genocide offence and the meaning of “intent” in comparative law, reveals that the traditional view can no longer be maintained.

  Kai Ambos is Professor of Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Comparative Law and International Criminal Law at the Georg-August Universität Göttingen and Judge at the District Court (Landgericht) Göttingen, Germany.  


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