Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA History




Maxim Matusevich, Ph.D

Committee Member

Larry A. Greene, Ph.D

Committee Member

Murat C. Menguc, Ph.D


Genocide Convention Prevention Punishment Survivors United Nations Bosnia Rwanda Cambodia Lemkin


The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was supposed to, as its title states, prevent any further genocides from occurring. In the event the United Nations could not prevent genocide the convention obligates all member States to intervene and punish those perpetrating the crime. Despite the existence of the Genocide Convention the world has witnessed several more cases of genocide, some of which the perpetrators have either not been punished or have been punished long after they have committed the crime of genocide. With a lack of prevention and punishment critics of the Genocide Convention have labeled it non-effective. Those affected by genocide declare that justice has not been served and that too often bureaucracy and back channels have prevented them from obtaining peace.

This Master’s Thesis explores the claim that the Genocide Convention has been a failure and offers a perspective that includes the long term affects of the convention and what it has meant to the study of genocide. This work greatly includes the efforts of the United Nations and various organizations that are dedicated to preventing armed conflicts that could potentially lead to genocide. State responsibility is another major issue discussed throughout this thesis given that in every case of genocide the State has had a major role. Hope for the future of the Genocide Convention is the last major theme of this thesis. Despite the many shortcomings of the United Nations and its member States the convention can be monumental in preventing genocide.