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Goldberg. Gardner Call for Speedy Ratification of Genocide Convention

Former Supreme Court Justice Arthur J, Goldberg and Columbia University Law Professor Richard N. Gardner called today for speedy US ratification of the Genocide Convention, stating “it is inconceivable that we should hesitate any longer in making an international commitment against mass murder.” In a detailed legal brief in the current issue of the American Bar Association Journal, Goldberg and Prof. Gardner examine all the objections which have been advanced against ratification of the Genocide Convention and find them to be “without substance.”

The Genocide Convention, which has been ratified by 75 nations, has been before the US Senate since 1949. It was reported on favorably last May by the Foreign Relations Committee and is now awaiting Senate action. “At a time when our commitment to human rights is being questioned by some of our own people and by others overseas,” Goldberg and Prof. Gardner declared, “it is particularly important that we ratify a treaty so thoroughly consistent with our national purpose.”

Goldberg and Prof. Gardner appeared before the Foreign Relations Committee in its hearings on the Genocide Convention last year on behalf of the Ad Hoc Committee on Human Rights and Genocide Treaties–a committee of 52 national, civic, religious and labor organizations. Two representatives of the ABA testified in opposition to the convention after the ABA House of Delegates reaffirmed by a narrow margin the Association’s previous stand against the treaty. However, all the ABA sections and committees with special interest in the subject matter have come out in favor of the convention.

Goldberg and Prof. Gardner, in summing up the main arguments for ratification of the convention now, stated: “Our adherence to the Genocide Convention can make a practical contribution to the long and difficult process of building a structure of international law based on principles of human dignity. It will put us in a better position to protest acts of genocide in other parts of the world and will enhance our influence in United Nations efforts to draft satisfactory human rights principles.” A bipartisan effort to bring the Genocide Convention to the floor of the Senate has been initiated by Senators Frank Church (D.,Idaho), Jacob K. Javits (R.,N.Y.), William Proxmire (D.,Wisc.) and Hugh Scott (R.,Pa.).

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