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The Genocide Convention

The Legacy of 60 Years

Edited by Harmen van der Wilt, Jeroen Vervliet, Göran Sluiter and Johannes Houwink ten Cate

Genocide is widely acknowledged as ‘the crime of crimes’. Such universal condemnation understandably triggers both loose talk (calling each and every massacre ‘genocide’) and utter reluctance in political circles to use the ‘G-word’. The social construction of genocide reflects the deeper question whether the rigid legal concept of genocide – as it emerges in the Genocide Convention and has been maintained ever since – still corresponds with the historical and social perception of the phenomenon. This book is the product of an intellectual encounter between scholars of historical and legal disciplines which have joined forces to address this question. The authors are strongly inspired by the idea that the multi-disciplinary research of and education on genocide may contribute to a more appropriate reaction and prevention of genocide.

Bertrand G. Ramcharan

This unique book, one of the first of its kind, discusses how human rights actually featured in UN peace operations in the deadly conflicts in the former Yugoslavia between 1992 and 1996. It is based on original materials in the possession of the author, who was Director of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslava from 1992 to 1996 and also served as Director of the Office of the UN Special Representative in charge of all peacemaking, peacekeeping, and humanitarian operations in the region. The book brings out the strategic centrality of human rights in the wide-ranging humanitarian operations. It shows how the peacekeepers built in a human rights dimension for the first time in the history of UN peacekeeping. And it shows how the peace negotiators sought to build their peace proposals on the foundations of human rights. It shows the peacemakers advocating justice for the victims while proceeding with their negotiating efforts. The great value of this book is that the author, who was personally involved in all of the activities he writes about, shows how human rights were instilled in practice in UN peace operations over a period of some four years and it also reveals, for the first time, some innovative ideas advanced that might be helpful in future peace operations.