The concept of genocide: international definition and local applicability in the fight for justice
Katja Seidel (University of Vienna)
Starting out with the UN Convention's definition of genocide, this paper explores the local application of the definition and its usefulness as an instrument to address state terror and mass atrocities. Drawing on my ongoing work with Austrian-Argentinean Holocaust survivors and Argentina's fight for justice under the flag of genocide, I examine the ways in which collective memories are embedded in specific socio-cultural and political discourses of power and representation. Following Feierstein's work on the social practices of genocide, I wish to provide insight into the political operation of human rights discourses on a local level, taking into account not only the potential legal constraints arising from the definition of genocide but also the symbolic value of defining state terror and mass atrocities as genocide. This paper will ask: what are the local meanings of international human rights concepts for agents actively pursuing societal transformation and justice?
Young Scholars Forum