Canada’s Commitments and Responsibilities under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

As required by the Convention, Canada enacted legislation to give effect to the provisions of the Convention. A section was added to Canada’s Criminal Code making it an offence to advocate or promote genocide. But the term “genocide” was only applicable to two acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part any identifiable group:

  • killing members of the group; and
  • deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction.

The other three acts defined under the Convention as constituting genocide were not included in Canada’s legislation.

However, more recently, Canada enacted legislation to implement its obligations under the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, became law in June 2000 and confirmed genocide as a punishable crime, along with crimes against humanity and war crimes. All three terms were defined as being in accordance with customary international law.