Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



What is traditional for common crimes can scarcely be oppressive innovation for mass-murder. Even freedom of communication is not, furthermore, an absolute in democratic preference: security and human decency must likewise have their place.

It is no little irony that argument must be made in support of a convention to suppress genocide. "The spectacle," writes a contemporary journal of opinion, "of modern man explaining his right to existence is an odd one." The Genocide Convention is but one of many interrelated measures in a world-wide program to secure peace and respect for the dignity of the individual human being. Rational appraisal of this Convention requires both a perspective of the centuries of man's long struggle for freedom and security by promulgating doctrine and balancing power and a realistic orientation in the contemporary interdependences of peoples everywhere in securing and maintaining a minimum of security and basic human rights. Even in a world where nations are feverishly inventing and creating new instruments for mass-murder of hither to unimaginable scope, it may still serve some purpose for peoples seeking survival to take this opportunity to restate their demand for fundamental human dignity, to reannounce their consensus on behalf of all mankind, and to recelebrate the identifications of all free peoples with each other. Unless this ideal is kept constantly at the focus of public attention there may be no fire in men's hearts to preserve it