As another day arrives with an additional set of horrific news about destructions happening seemingly everywhere in Ukraine, it is simply heartbreakingly hurtful to witness nothing being done to stop it by the institutions that were established to tackle these issues in the first place as well as their member states – in a deeper level than one can imagine.
Yet I am fully aware that I am currently powerless before the affairs in the
international arena and the rules of modern international law.
TIME IS NOW OUR SAVIOR AND OUR DOOM.
BUT THAT IS WHERE SO MANY OTHER QUESTIONS STAND:
In parallel with the documentation of the probable genocidal intent, we should also place an emphasis on prevention and appeals to such mechanisms as the 1948 convention. Article 1 of the Genocide Convention sets out two main obligations: in addition to the prohibition on the commission of genocide states are also obligated to prevent and punish genocide.
The 2007 judgment from the International Court of Justice is also incredibly important with respect to providing much-needed clarity about the prevention obligation. It stated:
“In the view of the Court, the Yugoslav federal authorities should have made the best efforts within their power to try and prevent the tragic events then taking shape, whose scale might have been surmised. Yet the Respondent has not shown that it took any initiative to prevent what happened, or any action on its part to avert the atrocities which were committed”
Several Ukrainian lawyers have also noted that due to political and legal debates about whether russia's policy is genocidal not being yet agreed upon it would be more sensible if, factually, Ukraine did not reach the situation, where it could be said that there, indeed, was a genocide. Even from a human-centered point of view, it is better to appeal to this duty of prevention.
The obligation to prevent genocide applies extraterritorial, which means that states have an obligation to prevent genocide not only within their own borders but in others when there is a risk that it is occurring or could occur in other countries.
The 1948 Convention gives us the opportunity to talk about prevention and the duty of the world community to be more sensitive to phenomena that may indicate that the policy of persecution is transforming into a genocidal policy.