Challenging the Definition
The UN’s definition of genocide emerged from difficult compromises by member states. Several powerful nations sought to limit the scope of the convention so as to avoid prosecution for their current and past policies and actions, such as the racial laws in the United States or the repressive policies in the USSR against certain political and social groups.
Experts and communities continue to debate the definition, especially since:
- It can be difficult to prove the “intent to destroy” a group;
- The expression “in whole or in part” is ambiguous;
- The UN definition excludes certain groups of victims, including political and cultural groups.