West German Parliament Acts to Outlaw Genocide

The West German Government will outlaw a crime which was originated by Germany-the crime of genocide. The Bundestag, Lower House of Parliament, with all parties speaking in favor, has given unanimous consent to the first reading of a bill adopting the United Nations Convention on Genocide.

The bill has now been referred to the competent parliamentary committee for further study and possible technical changes. It was introduced for its first reading by Dr. Fritz Neumayer, Bonn Minister of Justice, who said that the Federal Government was glad to be associated with this convention. Prof. Carlo Schmid, spokesman for the Social Democratic Party, told the Bundestag that the extermination of millions of Jews had brought “shame” to the German people. He also declared that the expulsion of Germans from Eastern Europe was a crime falling under the Genocide Convention. Spokesmen for the three other party delegations in the Bundestag also spoke and stressed the moral obligations for the future inherent in the bill.

The bill incorporating the provisions of the Genocide Convention in the German penal code was approved by the Cabinet last month. It must pass three readings in the Lower House before becoming law. It is hoped to bring the bill up for its second and third readings late in March.

Meanwhile, certain technical changes in the text suggested by Prof. Raphael Lemkin, “father” of the convention, to the chairman of the Bundestag Foreign Relations Committee, will be considered by the appropriate committees.

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