American University
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Nonnegotiable lives: International Criminal Justice and the Denial of Black Genocide in Brazil and the United States

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posted on 2023-09-07, 05:03 authored by Ana Flauzina

This dissertation questions the role played by the international criminal justice system in the perpetration of black genocide in Brazil and the United States. While the criminal justice systems of Brazil and the U.S. are the main instruments for the imposition of life-threatening situations surrounding black communities, the international system's indifferent posture endorses the practices of destruction against this social group. This dynamic is supported by a white supremacist arrangement that has detached black suffering from the post-World War II human rights legal postulates, especially during the Cold War era. In this process, the recognition of genocide was framed in strict symbolic racial dimensions. Noticeably, the space of victimization was connected to the violation of white bodies, with the Holocaust being the most important expression of this tendency. The recognition of genocide attached to blacks, such as in the case of Rwanda, is made with an emphasis on the perpetrator and the stereotypical portrayal of the tragedies resulting from the primitive attributes of African populations. However, genocide has remained a category unavailable to characterize the violent attacks of states directly controlled by white elites on black populations. Despite the denunciations of black resistance that stress the existence of black genocide in both countries, the international criminal justice system regulates the interpretation of the crime in a way that prevents its characterization. In reality, there is a judicial administration of genocide, which relies on the issue of intent, working to discredit these claims. Nevertheless, the analysis of the jurisprudence of the ad hoc tribunals allows for the identification of the assaults on blacks in Brazil and the United States as genocide and reveals the political process involved in the recognition of the crime. Considering this framework, the Genocide Convention is analyzed as a human rights instrument that surpasses the limited sphere of criminal law and can be independently assessed to determine the responsibility of the states in the imposition of genocide.





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American University. Washington College of Law

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  • Doctoral

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