1st Edition

Classifying Genocide in International Law The Substantiality Requirement

By Onur Uraz Copyright 2023
    286 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    286 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers an in-depth examination into genocide law by focusing on one of the lesser examined, yet practically significant, issues: the ‘substantiality requirement’. This refers to the requirement in international law that intended destruction should be directed towards a ‘substantial’ part of a protected group in order for an atrocity to qualify as genocide. This comprehensive and detailed study draws connections between different judicial approaches to ‘substantiality’ and the varying theoretical presumptions about the constitutive concepts of the crime. This prima facia doctrinal problem is used as a springboard to scrutinise the broader theoretical problems underlying the legal conceptualisation of genocide.

    The book systematically explores how the individualistic and collectivistic conceptions of the crime have been able to co-exist in case law and how the different approaches to assessing substantiality have played a backdoor role between these two conceptions. The work demonstrates that these two philosophical standpoints are far from effectively representing the reality of the protected groups and fully explaining the harm inherent to group destruction. The book revisits the recent philosophical and sociological studies on the crime and, considering ideas from the emerging ‘relational approaches to genocide’, offers a third way to understand the existing legal representation of the crime and, consequently, the idea of ‘substantiality’. It demonstrates the practical significance of its theoretical debates and applies its novel perspective through a case study on South Sudan.

    This book will be highly useful to students and scholars with an interest in genocide studies, international criminal law and legal theory. It will also be of interest to policymakers engaged with issues around genocide.

    Table of Cases



    Chapter One – An Introduction to the Problem of the Identification and Justification of ‘Substantiality’ in Genocide Law

    Chapter Two – The Emergence of the Substantiality Requirement as a De Facto Norm and its Judicial Application

    Chapter Three – The Substantiality Requirement in the Legal Literature: Uncovering Binary and Substantialist Thinking

    Chapter Four – Beyond Binary and Substantialist Thinking: Embracing the Contingency in the Identification and Justification of ‘Substantiality’

    Chapter Five – Locating the Relevant ‘Part’ in Light of the Processual Nature of Group Destruction and the Contextuality of Genocidal Intent

    Chapter Six – A Four-Step Examination for Establishing the Crime of Genocide

    Chapter Seven – A Case Study: The Question of Genocide in South Sudan and the Substantiality Requirement

    General Conclusion




    Onur Uraz is a lecturer in international law, Hacettepe Law School, University of Hacettepe, Turkey.