Shared Responsibility for the Prevention of Genocide?

Mindia Vashakmadze

SHARES Research Paper 14 (2012)

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The legal obligations to prevent genocide are well-established in international law. However, their allocation between different actors is still under discussion. The law does not give satisfactory answers in terms of the role of multiple actors and their corresponding responsibilities in genocide prevention. Most experts would agree that under certain circumstances States may legally be required to cooperate to ensure effective prevention of genocide. Recent developments such as the adoption of the World Summit Outcome Document of 2005, which enshrines the concept of the responsibility to protect, emphasize the importance of combined efforts to prevent genocide. It is, however, less clear how States share their obligation to prevent genocide, and how they share those obligations with the international organizations such as the United Nations. It proved difficult to delineate the boundaries of ensuing legal responsibilities. The degree of shared responsibilities and their allocation between the respective actors should be explored in this context. This question will be analyzed in the paper by taking into account relevant international jurisprudence and state practice.

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