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The Law of Genocide

Course number: L6459

In this course, we will begin by examining the historical, philosophical and political origins of statutes that outlaw crimes against humanity and genocide. We will then focus on the first post-World War II trial of the SS personnel at the Nazi concentration camps of Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz, followed by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg (the "IMT"); the Eichmann Trial in Jerusalem; the trial in Tel Aviv of the head of the Jewish police of a Polish ghetto; the trial of former Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (the "ICTY"), and related proceedings; as well as certain prosecutions before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (the "ICTY"). We will be comparing and contrasting aspects of these trials, as well as the evolution of the law regarding the defense of superior orders (the so-called "Nuremberg Defense"). We will also discuss the impact of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and consider the development of the law relating to genocide and crimes against humanity over the course of the past 70 years and its contemporary implications.