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The jurist Raphael Lemkin, a Polish scholar of international law, coined the legal concept of genocide in 1944 in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. He subsequently played an important role in the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal trials of Nazi war criminals, and he lobbied at the United Nations during its debate on genocide. This concluded with General Assembly Resolution 96 (Dec. 11, 1946): “genocide is a crime under international law which the civilized world condemns, and for the commission of which principals and accomplices are punishable.”

People generally consider genocide one of the worst moral crimes a government can commit against its citizens or those it controls. The major reason for this is what the world learned about the Holocaust, the systematic attempt of ...

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