How the Rome Statute Weakens the International Prohibition on Incitement to Genocide
Thomas E. Davies
The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide criminalizes not only genocide itself, but also other acts including direct and public incitement to genocide. The criminalization of incitement to genocide serves at least two important goals. First, it helps to ensure that the people who may bear the greatest responsibility for bringing about genocide — like Hassan Ngeze, the newspaper publisher who “poisoned the minds of his readers, and by his words and deeds caused the death of thousands of innocent civilians,” according to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) — can be punished. Second, it gives the international community the opportunity to try to prevent future genocides by prosecuting individuals who incite genocide before their incitement is successful.