September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Definition of Genocide

Country: Argentina
Delegate Name: Emilio Hernandez

As the global populace grows increasingly vulnerable to horrific atrocities, both in times of war and of alleged peace, Argentina believes it is time to reassess the definition of such crimes in the eyes of international law, most notably genocide. Of course, an understanding of the word’s meaning has been commonly held since it was first coined in 1944 by Raphäel Lemkin, a response to the events of the Holocaust. In legal terms, it was officially recognized as a crime in 1946 by the United Nations General Assembly and codified two years later in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, colloquially known as the Genocide Convention. Under this accord, genocide is defined through various listed acts performed “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” Over 150 independent states have since ratified the Convention.

The Argentine Republic does unfortunately have experience with genocide, specifically in regards to the Dirty War and the dictatorship that had control over the country at the time. Political dissidents of the far-right Argentine Anticommunist Alliance were heavily persecuted, with as many as 30,000 people killed or disappeared. It must be made completely clear, however, that democracy has been restored in Argentina and the leaders of the fascist regime have been internally prosecuted for their transgressions. Despite various officials directly involved in the homicidal acts of the Dirty War being granted amnesty around 1986, the government reopened the case in 2003 and came to indict many such agents, specifically citing genocide as one of their crimes; 29 of these cases have resulted in life sentences in prison. This effort to bring closure to this terrible chapter in the nation’s history continues to this day.

Under the 1998 Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court (ICC) is given authority over cases of “atrocity crimes,” which indeed include genocide as defined by the aforementioned Genocide Convention. Thus, a proper understanding of this definition is necessary to distinguish it from other acts that may fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction. The Argentine Republic has already ratified both the Genocide Convention and the Rome Statute, as it respects the value of the Court and sees no issue with the way it has carried out its duties so far.

Nevertheless, Argentina must request one change to the definition of genocide presently held by the United Nations: the need to specify ideological oppression as a potential expression of it. As it now stands, the list of possible victims of genocide extend only to groups of a given nationality, ethnicity, race or religion, which then excludes those who have suffered (or may in the future suffer) greatly at the hands of malicious governing bodies that illegally suppress their right to voice political stances. The innate freedom of opinion and expression is one that the UN has upheld since its inception, and a military administration attempting to take away that right should be taken as nothing short of an offense equivalent to genocide, particularly so when it employs mass murder to accomplish this goal. Under this belief, the government of Argentina has already set a precedent in prosecuting members of tyrannical regimes guilty of this form of genocide. In short, though the definition of genocide established in 1948 has been regarded as sufficient in years past, Argentina is of the opinion that this committee must consider modifying it to include targeted attacks against political groups, in order to ensure justice and protection for victims of such cases.

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