Laws Against Genocide Exist: So Why Don’t They Work?

04 Jul 2024

The Zoryan Institute is pleased to share that Dr. William Schabas recently made a guest appearance on an hour-long episode of the CBC podcast, IDEAS. In this podcast, the host of IDEAS, Nahlah Ayed, interviews Dr. William Schabas about the history of the UN Genocide Convention and what change is needed to effectively intervene and prevent genocide.


The episode explores how the international community and lawyers define genocide, how its definition has evolved, and what consequences its definition holds for human rights. Throughout the podcast, Dr. Schabas points to contentious aspects of genocide’s definition that can dictate whether a crime is recognized as genocide. By identifying the contextual differences of various cases of genocide, such as those presented by the Balkan states, the episode emphasizes the mystifying challenge of proving a state’s intent to destroy a group when seeking accountability.

The Institute highly recommends those who seek to better understand and learn about the changing perceptions of international justice and law, state responsibility, the elasticity of legal rhetoric, the efficacy of criminal prosecution, institutional trust, and political influence to listen to the episode by clicking here.

Dr. William Schabas is a Canadian academic specialising in international criminal and human rights law. He is Professor of International Law at Middlesex University in the United Kingdom, Professor of International Human Law and Human Rights at Leiden University in the Netherlands, and an internationally respected expert on human rights law, genocide and the death penalty. Schabas also sits on the advisory board of the Israel Law Review, the Journal of International Criminal Justice and is editor-in-chief of Criminal Law Forum, the quarterly journal of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law. Dr. Schabas also teaches the International Law and Genocide Unit at the Institute’s annual Genocide and Human Rights University Program at the University of Toronto.