Delegate Name: Emerson Abbo
The definition of genocide is especially important to Italy due to the country’s involvement in World WarⅡ. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Jewish people- having lived in Italy for around two thousand years- were deeply integrated into Italian society. After the National Fascist Party seized control in 1922, many Jewish People were sympathetic to the regime and even held significant political offices. Despite Italy’s prosecution of Jewish people during World WarⅡbeing less severe than that of other Axis Powers, it is still responsible for collaborating with the Nazis and implementing antisemitic legislation during its fascist regime. Clearly defining genocide is necessary for bringing justice to victims of the Holocaust and other genocides, as well as preventing future atrocities.
Italy believes that the best way to address genocide is by educating the public on past genocides, denouncing violent prejudices, and promoting tolerant values. This approach not only honors victims of genocide but also emphasizes the steps necessary for a genocide to take place. As former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi states, “We must take action focusing on the deep roots of racism and antisemitism, tackling their violent expressions and curbing any form of denialism.” Nationally, government officials participate in official ceremonies for holocaust remembrance efforts. Locally, towns and schools hold special events to honor the victims of the Holocaust, as well as the Roma Genocide. The country is devoted to continuously remembering and honoring the lives lost to genocide, especially on January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Italy is also a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Concerning the identification of other genocides, Italy’s Chamber of Deputies motioned for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. Italy also recognizes the Holomodor Famine as a genocide. Italian senators reason that the USSR “deliberately provoked a famine that caused millions of deaths.” Both events fit Italy’s definition of genocide: “a crime committed with the intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, in whole or in part.” This definition, derived from Italy’s compliance with the Genocide Convention, allows the country to bring genocides to international attention. However, due to this definition’s ambiguities and exclusions, Italy is limited in its ability to properly define and prosecute specific genocides. Specifically, the exclusion of political groups from the definition unjustly minimizes the Soviet Union’s role during the Great Purge.
Due to the country’s dark past, Italy understands the importance of identifying genocide and supports definitions that clearly define and punish it. The Italian Republic recognizes that the definition of genocide, when hard to prove, leads to abusive interpretations that allow for countries to avoid international law. To stop states from taking advantage of ambiguous terminology, the United Nations must move towards more empirical standards that avoid proving a country’s “intent.” Rather, proving the effects of alleged genocide must be prioritized over proving an accused country’s motivations. Additionally, Italy advocates for the expansion of the definition to include political groups as possible targets of genocide. This allows Italy to better condemn atrocities of the past, present, and future.