Defining “National Group” in the Genocide Convention: A Case Study of Timor-Leste

Lisson, David



This Note focuses particularly on the category of “national group.” The meaning of “national group” in the Genocide Convention has been left relatively unexplored, and it is often left out of discussions about whether a targeted group falls within Article 2. International tribunals have provided a brief definition of the term based on a similar term in public international law: “a collection of people who are perceived to share a legal bond based on common citizenship, coupled with reciprocity of rights and duties.” However, there is reason to doubt whether this definition makes sense in light of the social phenomenon the Genocide Convention is meant to address. This Note will suggest that an alternative definition based on the concept of self-determination is more appropriate. In addition, this Note uses a case study of the Indonesian invasion and occupation of Timor-Leste between 1975 and 1999 to demonstrate the importance of re-conceptualizing the term “national group.”
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Upload date : Saturday, 3 May 2014

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