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East West Street: On the Origins of "Genocide" and "Crimes Against Humanity"

Philippe Sands

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Does the difference matter? someone else asked. Does it matter whether the law seeks to protect you because you are an individual or because of the group of which you happen to be a member? That question floated around the room, and it has remained with me ever since.”

“Why had I chosen the path of the law? And why law of the kind that seemed to be connected to an unspoken family history? 'What haunts are not the dead, but the gaps left within us by the secrets of others,' the psychoanalyst Nicolas Abraham wrote of the relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent. The invitation from Lviv was a chance to explore those haunting gaps.”

“What haunts are not the dead, but the gaps left within us by the secrets of others,” the psychoanalyst”

“These two distinct crimes, with their different emphases on the individual and the group, grew side by side, yet over time genocide emerged in the eyes of many as the crime of crimes, a hierarchy that left a suggestion that the killing of large numbers of people as individuals was somehow less terrible.”

“It affirmed that international law was not only law 'between States' but 'also the law of mankind'. Those who transgressed it would have no immunity, even if they were leaders, a reflection of the 'outraged conscience of the world'.”

“Imagine the killing of 100,000 people who happened to come from the same group,” I explained, “Jews or Poles in the city of Lviv. For Lauterpacht, the killing of individuals, if part of a systematic plan, would be a crime against humanity. For Lemkin, the focus was genocide, the killing of the many with the intention of destroying the group of which they were a part. For a prosecutor today, the difference between the two was largely the question of establishing intent: to prove genocide, you needed to show that the act of killing was motivated by an intent to destroy the group, whereas for crimes against humanity no such intent had to be shown.” I explained that proving intent to destroy a group in whole or in part was notoriously difficult, since those involved in such killings tended not to leave a trail of helpful paperwork.”

“The three things in life he’d wanted to avoid had all come to pass: “to wear eyeglasses, to lose my hair, and to become a refugee.”

“Sofka: The Autobiography of a Princess, a book”

“Lauterpacht's intellectual development coincided with this crucial moment. Engaged n Zionist activity, he nevertheless feared nationalism. The philosopher Martin Buber, who lectured and led in Lemberg became an intellectual influence, opposing Zionism as a form of abhorrent nationalism and holding to the view that a Jewish state in Palestine would inevitably oppress the Arab inhabitants. Lauterpacht attended Buber's lectures and found himself attracted to such ideas, identifying himself as a disciple of Buber's. This was an early fluting of skepticism about the power of the state.”

“He liked Washington, the “subdued elegance” of Sixteenth Street and the extravagance of Massachusetts Avenue, the simplicity of the monuments, the lack of pretension.”

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Book Keywords:

globalisation, progess, holocaust, zionism, law, nuremberg-trials, morality, justice, hope, accountability, humanitarian, nationalism, international-relations, philosophy, equality

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