Update: 21.05.2019

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

of 9 December 1948 (Entry into force: 12 January 1951)

Text of Treaty

English / French / German

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide is dated 9 December 1948 and came into force on 12 January 1951. It defines genocide as any of a number of acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group: 

  • killing members of the group;
  • causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  • deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  • imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The Convention also declares that there shall be no immunity, persons committing this crime shall be punished regardless of their status. Furthermore, the Convention stipulates that persons charged with genocide shall be tried by a competent tribunal of the State in the territory in which the act was committed or by such international penal tribunal as may have jurisdiction with respect to the Contracting Parties. The Convention does not establish a specific monitoring body or expert committee; instead it stipulates that Contracting Parties may call upon the competent organs of the UN to take such action under the UN Charter, which they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide. Thus, the matter may be brought before the International Court of Justice which may order interim measures of protection.


151 contracting states (as of 21 May 2019, current count).


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