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This article traces the historical development of the term “genocide” and discusses how it evolved from a post-World War II concept into a key component of international criminal law. Dr. O’Brien outlines some of the legal challenges that attend several of the key terms in the generally accepted definition of genocide: ‘destroy’, ‘in part’, ‘groups’, ‘intent’, and so on. She then concludes with an important and politically nuanced point essential to understanding the politics and afterlife of the Rwanda genocide – the weight of the “g” word.

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