Judicial Inference of the ‘Intent to Destroy’: A Critical, Socio-legal Analysis

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This article tackles the issue of genocidal intent by placing emphasis on the nature of genocide as a hierarchical and collective crime. While traditionally it is the collective dimension of victimization that is highlighted, in this article the author highlights the collective dimension of perpetration, which is often downplayed in genocide cases. This is done by examining two specific cases pertaining to the genocide in Bosnia (Trbić and Nikolić) and the evidentiary patterns followed by the judges in these cases. Moreover, the author relies on his interviews with perpetrators (in Rwanda, Burundi, Bosnia, and Cambodia). Broadly speaking, the approach taken is that often the intent of individual perpetrators is conflated with more general collective policies and there are elements of this interplay that should be taken into account. It would seem more appropriate for the author to emphasize these collective aspects rather than inferring genocidal intent of individual perpetrators from a set of contextual elements which may not really be sufficient in determining the special intent required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-150
JournalJournal of International Criminal Justice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Genocide
  • genocidal intent
  • perpetrators

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