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December 2023 was the 75th anniversary of the 1948 Genocide Convention, which obligates state parties to prevent and punish the crime of genocide and incitement to genocide. This presentation will examine some of the ways in which the Genocide Convention has been used in international courts in those 75 years. While uptake of implementation of the Convention was slow in the 20th Century, the Genocide Convention is currently experiencing a surge of implementation in the International Court of Justice. This presentation will focus on these current ICJ Genocide Convention cases, exploring the parameters and current status of these cases, and what they may mean for the concept of ‘genocide’ in international law.

Speaker: Dr Melanie O’Brien

Dr Melanie O’Brien is Visiting Professor at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of Minnesota, USA, and President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). Her work on forced marriage has been cited by the International Criminal Court, she has appeared before the ICC as an amica curia and been an expert consultant for several UN bodies. She received a 10-year service medal for volunteering with the Australian Red Cross, and was awarded the Filon Ktenidis Award for her work on justice and recognition for victims of genocide. Dr O’Brien has conducted research across six continents, and was recently a Research Fellow at the Sydney Jewish Museum and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Loughborough. Dr O’Brien’s usual role is Associate Professor of International Law at the University of Western Australia. Dr O’Brien’s most recent book is From Discrimination to Death: Genocide Process through a Human Rights Lens.

Chair: Dr Maria Varaki

Dr Maria Varaki is a Lecturer in International Law at the War Studies Department, King's College London, and co-director of the War Crimes Research Group. Before moving to London, she has held posts at the Erik Castren Institute of International Law and Human Rights in Helsinki, Kadir Has University in Istanbul, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and the iCourts Centre at the University of Copenhagen. Additionally, she has worked for the OHCHR in Geneva, the UNHCR in New York and the Legal Advisory section of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague. Since November 2017, she is a member of the ILA Committee on Human Rights in times of emergency.

At this event

Maria Varaki

Lecturer in International Law