genocidal intent


Genocidal intent is the ''
mens rea ''Mens rea'' (; Law LatinLaw Latin, sometimes written L.L. or L. Lat., and sometimes derisively called Dog Latin Dog Latin, also known as Cod Latin, macaronic Latin, mock Latin, or Canis Latinicus, refers to the creation of a phrase In everyd ...
'' for the
crime of genocide Genocide is the intentional action to destroy a people—usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other grou ...
. "Intent to destroy" is one of the elements of the crime of
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an , , , or group. coined the term in 1944, combining the word (, "race, people") with the ("act of killing").. In 1948, the defined genocide as "acts committed wi ...
according to the 1948
Genocide Convention The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of t ...
. There are some analytic differences between the concept of
intent Intentions are mental states A mental state, or a mental property, is a state of mind of a person. Mental states comprise a diverse class including perception, pain experience, belief, desire, intention, emotion, and memory. There is controversy co ...
under national criminal law, where responsibility for a murder is ascribed to an individual based on their mental state, and international law. Under international law, responsibility falls upon individuals in their capacities as members of certain organizations or other official roles. The intent for genocide is less direct. An international court might look at whether the defendant participated in planning the genocidal acts, perhaps within the auspices of a certain organizational structure, or whether they acted with knowledge of such a preconceived plan. The Tribunal for Rwanda, in one of their cases, decided that it was not enough for a defendant to know that their acts could contribute to the destruction of a group. Scholars have suggested that the individual's role within an institution can impact the weight given to an individual's knowledge. In order to prosecute of an individual in the context of a genocide, their complicity in forming the "institutional intent" must also be proved. The International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), and International Court of Justice have ruled that, in the absence of a confession, genocidal intent can be proven with circumstantial evidence, especially "the scale of atrocities committed, their general nature, in a region or a country, or furthermore, the fact of deliberately and systematically targeting victims on account of their membership of a particular group, while excluding the members of other groups."


In 2010, the Khmer Rouge Tribunal referred to the precedent of the ICTR in discussing the role of genocidal intent. In the case of a 2004 United Nations ''Commission of Inquiry'' into the War in Darfur, Claus Kress argued that the ICTY and ICTR were incorrect in their view of the genocidal intent of individuals. Hans Vest argued for the interlinked roles of an individual's intent and the individual's expectation of contributing to a collective action. Kjell Anderson discussed ways of separating out the roles of collective policies and their interaction with individual intent. Olaf Jenssen disagreed with the lack of sentencing Goran Jelisić for genocidal intent, arguing that legal consistency would imply that some of the perpetrators of the Holocaust would not have been convicted for genocide. In February 2021, while the Tigray War was in its fourth month, peace researcher Kjetil Tronvoll stated that the Eritrean Defence Forces' acts of widespread and systematic war crimes in the Tigray War#Extrajudicial executions of civilians, executions of Tigrayans, Tigrayan civilians, especially men and boys, sexual violence in the Tigray War, sexual violence against Tigrayan women, looting and destruction of Famine in the Tigray War#Claims of intent, infrastructure and food resources, and looting and destruction of Tigrayan cultural heritage, together seemed to show a pattern that might establish genocidal intent.


Edina Bećirević studied whether there was a "special intent" by the Serbian political leadership to exterminate Bosnian Muslims as early as 1992" in the Bosnian War.


{{reflist, refs= {{cite journal , last1=Park , first1=Ryan , title=Proving Genocidal Intent: International Precedent and ECCC Case 002 , journal=Rutgers Law Review , date=2010 , volume=63 , pages=129 , url= {{cite journal , last1=Kress , first1=Claus , title=The Darfur Report and Genocidal Intent , journal=Journal of International Criminal Justice , date=2005 , volume=3 , issue=3 , pages=562–578 , doi=10.1093/jicj/mqi054 {{cite journal , last1=Jensen , first1=Olaf , title=Evaluating genocidal intent: the inconsistent perpetrator and the dynamics of killing , journal=Journal of Genocide Research , date=2013 , volume=15 , issue=1 , pages=1–19 , doi=10.1080/14623528.2012.759396, s2cid=146191450 {{cite journal , last1=Vest , first1=H. , title=A Structure-Based Concept of Genocidal Intent , journal=Journal of International Criminal Justice , date=2007 , volume=5 , issue=4 , pages=781–797 , doi=10.1093/jicj/mqm036 {{cite journal , last1=Bećirević , first1=Edina , title=The Issue of Genocidal Intent and Denial of Genocide: A Case Study of Bosnia and Herzegovina , journal=East European Politics and Societies and Cultures , date=2010 , volume=24 , issue=4 , pages=480–502 , doi=10.1177/0888325410377655, s2cid=145744538 {{cite journal , last1=Anderson , first1=Kjell , title=Judicial Inference of the 'Intent to Destroy' , journal=Journal of International Criminal Justice , date=2019 , volume=17 , issue=1 , pages=125–150 , doi=10.1093/jicj/mqz025 {{cite web , last1 = Tronvoll , first1 = Kjetil , author1-link = Kjetil Tronvoll , title= Is Eritrea's war in Tigray genocidal? , website= Eritrea Hub , date = 2021-02-27 , url = , access-date = 2021-02-28 , archive-url= , archive-date= 2021-02-27 , url-status=live Elements of crime Genocide Intention