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United Nations Legal Committee Adopts International Convention Prohibiting Genocide

An international convention outlawing genocide was adopted yesterday by the Legal Committee of the General Assembly. Two years work by various U.N. bodies is expected to be climaxed by a favorable vote of the Assembly, possibly tomorrow.

Immediately after passage of the convention, which forbids the destruction in whole or in part of national, ethnical, racial or religious groups, member nations will be able to sign the convention. It will come into effect 90 days after ratification by 20 nations. Biological as well as physical destruction of groups is forbidden in the convention, which also provides apparatus for enforcement of the ban on genocide.

A four-part program of enforcement is provided for recourse of victims of the international crime. It is: appeal to national courts; appeal Nations; and, finally, appeal to a special international penal tribunal, whose establishment is envisaged in the statute. Asylum for persons charged with genocide, regardless of their status as individuals, officials of a government or rulers, is forbidden.

Following adoption of the convention, the Legal Committee also passed a resolution asking the newly established International Law Commission to study the desirability and possibility of creating a special international tribunal to try persons charged with genocide.

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