Closure of the 2nd International Judicial Forum: Neutralization of values, Argentina dictatorship and the criminal policy of genocide were the topics of the 4th Table
Monday, November 17, 2014
The last group of speakers at the 2nd Judicial Forum, moderated by Dr. Hector Zimmerman, lawyer, former commander of Northeast University of Argentina, professor at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and scholar of Yad Vashem, was composed of representatives from Argentina and Colombia.
Dr. Eugenio Raul Zaffaroni, Minister of the Supreme Court of Justice and renowned academic in the judicial field, was present at this debate through a video which clearly stated the need to analyze political and legal speeches, so you can determine when a speech pretends to neutralize the values of a community. This being one of the main tools on which a genocidal imparts their thoughts, through education, communicative systems, it relies on legislation and then, afterwards, rationalizes his actions, to somehow, apologize or reassure, escaping the fact.
"We cannot be comfortably seated saying: "Well, we already have a Convention, we have an international law"; not by the defects of international law, but because the prevention of genocide requires arriving before the event takes place. (...) Genocides are not born over night, they are installed, they move forward. Nor does genocide occur if there is a population willing to somehow, one willing to accept it, or at least remain indifferent. And this can be seen through public speeches. There is a technique of neutralization of values; a genocidal does not deny the dominant values, they simply neutralize them."
On his part, Dr. Daniel Obligado, professor at the UBA, in his conference "The Crime of Genocide and Trials in Argentina" made an extensive reference to Raphael Lemkin (author of the concept of genocide) and their main ideas and legal doctrines. The President of the Tribunal Oral Court 5 stated that the idea that the only genocide perpetrated was against the Jewish people during World War II should be left at a distance and other documented cases should be studied.
"It is very important to remember that the fundamental purpose of the rules regarding genocide is its prevention; therefore, it is important to note that the definition of this crime, which is found in the 1948 Convention, is an instrument which can be used as a starting point, but it’s also a concept that needs to be overcome.
Therefore, we must recognize, that not all acts can be considered genocide, yet you need a bold vision to recognize what it is. The idea that the only genocide in history was perpetrated against the Jews in Germany needs to be put far away; this should serve as experience to uncover mechanisms by which these crimes are established and understand that they exist for its realization, like many other phenomena’s, scales, proportions, patterns and shades."
Dr. Camilo Montoya Reyes, in his dissertation "The Crime of Genocide: political-criminal approach", proposed to define in a legal way the concept of "human group", as a way to help prevent the crime of genocide:
"Genocide is also committed, not when they threaten the existence of a group but when the group is disintegrated; genocide is also committed, not when the existence of a group is threatened, but when cohesive factors (so to speak) of the respective group are broken."
Montoya, who is also a Procurator before the Superior Tribunal Court of Colombia, explained how this would help to better identify the genocidal behavior, and reiterated that "the most important act in penal matters is to act preventatively."
"The crime of genocide is not mono-offensive; it is multi-offensive. Secondly, the legally protected asset is not the group itself, nor is the group's existence - as others claim -; I think that it is the existence, but also the group's integrity, the actual integrity of the group. And finally, that human dignity, fundamental rights in international criminal law and obviously, that international peace and security are also protected."
Dr. William Soto, Global Ambassador of Activists for Peace, closed the event at 6:00 pm, thanking all the panelists and activists who contributed in some way to the successful completion of this meeting which will result in a document containing the proposals reached in each country where they were made, and will be presented before international bodies:
"Each time we carry out one of these International Judicial Forums on "New Proposals for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide", such as the one we completed today at the University of Buenos Aires, new questions emerge in the academic debate, whose answers will give way to the projects we are working hard on. Work which we will carry out or perform altruistically and with love for our neighbor. All of this to create a culture of peace that results in the welfare of human family. Thank you very much."