Human rights and genocide: The work of Lauterpacht and Lemkin in modern international law

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Journal Article
European Journal of International Law, 2009, 20 (4), pp. 1163 - 1194
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2008 marked the sixtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Genocide Convention and Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly. These two instruments adopted and proclaimed by the then newly formed world body on successive days, 9 and 10 December 1948 respectively, represent two sides of one coin. Born of the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s, the United Nations Charter speaks of human rights and to the importance of the rule of law. The Genocide Convention and UDHR are integral to the pursuit of these aims. The work of two international lawyers, Hersch Lauterpacht and Raphael Lemkin, whose personal and familial histories traverse the tragedies of 20th century Europe, was instrumental in the realization of these twin efforts. This article examines their respective contributions to contemporary international law by concentrating on their European experience from their youth in Central Europe and the early days of the League of Nations to their mature work up to and including the Nuremberg Judgment. © EJIL 2010; all rights reserved.
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