chapter  10
A Moment of Kindness? Consistency and Genocidal Intent
Pages 16

Soon after the ad hoc Tribunals had taken up their work, the question of genocidal

intent claimed its place as one of the most significant and complicated aspects of

a crime which, in the eyes of some Trial Chambers, was at the very apex of the

hierarchy of international crimes.1 There are reasons for that. Specific genocidal

intent – the ‘intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or

religious group, as such’2 is seen by the international tribunals as the element


1 ICTR (Trial Chamber), Case No. ICTR-98-39-S, The Prosecutor v Omar Serushago,

Judgment 5 February 1999 [Serushago (Trial Chamber)], para. 15. For a discussion of a

possible hierarchical relationship between war crimes on the one hand and crimes against

humanity and genocide on the other, see Matthew Lippman (2000-2001), ‘Genocide: The

Crime of the Century. The Jurisprudence of Death at the Dawn of the New Millenium’,

23 Houston Journal of International Law, p. 508. But cf. ICTR (Appeals Chamber), The

Prosecutor v Clément Kayishema and Obed Ruzindana, Case No. ICTR-95-1-A, Judgment

1 June 2001, para. 367 [‘[…] there is no hierarchy of crimes under the Statute […]’]. See

also Adil Ahmad Haque, ‘Group Violence and Group Vengeance: Towards a Retributivist

Theory of International Criminal Law’, 9 Buffalo Criminal Law Review (2005-2006), p.