Leicester Conference on Genocidal Intent

Posted by pt91 at Sep 19, 2011 10:40 AM |
Unique event is a milestone for the University, say organisers

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 19 September 2011

An international conference on Genocidal Intent will be hosted by the University of Leicester on 21 – 23 September 2011

Genocidal intent – the intent to destroy a protected group – is one of the most important aspects of the crime; but it is also an element that has caused considerable difficulties in international criminal tribunals.

The problems in identifying intent are one of the reasons why very few genocide convictions have ever been entered in the Yugoslavia Tribunal, and they explain the difficulties which the Prosecution at the International Criminal Court faced when it applied for an arrest warrant against the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir.

But genocidal intent is also at the core of much controversy among historians who debate whether destructive intent must be proven before events such as the African slave trade can be termed "genocide".

The Leicester conference will bring together prominent scholars from a wide variety of background who engage in various fields of genocide studies. They include Professor William Schabas, whose book "Genocide in International Law"  counts among the most authoritative treatments of the crime; Professor Hans Vest – one of the leading experts on the legal assessment of genocidal intent –,  and Professor Paul Bartrop, author of numerous works on the Holocaust and a former President of the Australian Association of Jewish Studies.

Dr Behrens, one of the organisers of the conference, said: "We are privileged to welcome some of the foremost genocide scholars to Leicester to discuss this aspect of genocide. This expert meeting is a unique event and a milestone for the University of Leicester – as far as we know, it is the first time ever that an interdisciplinary conference has been dedicated to this important topic."

The topics under discussion include ethnic cleansing, intent and the obligation to prevent genocide, the Srebrenica massacre, the role of motives for the assessment of intent and parliamentary discourse on genocidal intent. Professor Schabas will also give the Sixth Aubrey Newman Lecture on Wednesday, 21 September 2011.

The conference is hosted by the Leicester Project on Genocide and the Holocaust – an interdisciplinary initiative established in 2010 by by Dr Olaf Jensen (Director of the Stanley Burton Centre for Holocaust and Genocide Studies) and Dr Paul Behrens (School of Law). It is the second expert meeting of the project – the first one, in September 2010, dealt with questions of Holocaust and genocide denial. Part of the project is also the maintenance of a network of interested scholars from all academic disciplines who have the opportunity to contribute as authors or as expert commentators.

Registration for the 2011 conference is open at http://shop.le.ac.uk/browse/extra_info.asp?compid=1&modid=2&prodid=91&deptid=1&catid=27

The conference is funded by a grant awarded by the British Academy.


Note to Newsdesk

For more information, contact Dr Paul Behrens pk124@le.ac.uk


The British Academy was established by Royal Charter in 1902, under the full title of 'The British Academy for the Promotion of Historical, Philosophical and Philological Studies'. It is an independent and self-governing fellowship of scholars, elected for distinction and achievement in one or more branches of the academic disciplines that make up the humanities and social sciences, and is now organised in eighteen Sections by academic discipline. There are Fellows, overseas Corresponding Fellows, and Honorary Fellows. Up to thirty-eight new Fellows may be elected in any one year.

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