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Genocide and Political Groups$
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David L. Nersessian

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199588909

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588909.001.0001

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Conduct Elements

Conduct Elements

(p.14) 2 Conduct Elements
Genocide and Political Groups

Dr. David Nersessian

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses upon the actus reus of genocide, outlining both the conduct elements of the offence and the complexities of identifying the contours of protected groups. It first discusses the various modes of perpetration for international crimes generally, including the doctrines of command responsibility and joint criminal enterprise. It then focuses on the actus reus of genocide and details the acts prohibited under Genocide Convention that constitute physical genocide (killing group members, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, and imposing destructive conditions of life upon them) and biological genocide (preventing births within the group and removing the children of group members). It also discusses distinctions and commonalities among the racial, ethnic, national, and religious groups protected under the Genocide Convention. It further details the complexities of determining the applicable criteria for group membership and assesses the benefits and drawbacks of ascertaining membership using subjective versus objective characteristics.

Keywords:   conduct elements, actus reus, Genocide Convention, subjective approach, objective approach, perpetration, commission, joint criminal enterprise, command responsibility, superior responsibility

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