City College Downtown: Rights Talk Podcast Genocide as “the Crime of Crimes” and Its Limitations with Prof. Dirk Moses
City College Downtown: Rights Talk Podcast | Genocide as “the Crime of Crimes” and Its Limitations, with CCNY Prof. Dirk Moses
This episode grapples with the limitations of the legal definition of genocide in international law and its implications for international responses to mass civilian destruction. Prof. Dirk Moses—Anne and Bernard Spitzer Professor of Political Science at The City College of New York—historically situates the development of the concept of genocide, examines the challenges posed by the narrow definition codified in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), and what killings of innocent civilians are obscured and “normalized” by its status as the “crime of crimes.” He discusses his latest major publication—The Problems of Genocide: Permanent Security and the Language of Transgression, published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. Prof. Moses illuminates gaps in international law regarding civilian protection and presents the concept of “permanent security,” which he argues captures genocide and other recognized mass atrocity crimes as well as the continuous “collateral damage” that we see in today’s low-intensity warfare. Prof. Moses concludes the episode with an analysis of the Ukraine conflict, what the UN can do to resolve it, and the war’s broader implications for the international system.
City College Downtown