Encyclopedia of Global Justice

2011 Edition
| Editors: Deen K. Chatterjee


  • Sally J. Scholz
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9160-5_84

In his 1944 work Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, Rapheal Lemkin coined the word “genocide” in order to designate the scale of atrocities that he had spent much of his adult life fighting. Lemkin combined the Greek word for people, race, or tribe with a word derived from Latin meaning “to kill.” His aim was to identify the mass scale atrocity that targets a people. He recognized that planned and coordinated destruction of a people or a nation aims not solely or even primarily at outright killing but also at the destruction of culture, language, traditions, and social and political infrastructures.

The international community, through the documents of the United Nations, adopted a standard legal definition of genocide in 1948. The U.N. General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on December 9, 1948. Accordingly, “genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally J. Scholz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyVillanova UniversityVillanovaUSA