The current crisis in Syria coupled with the recent resignation of the U.N. and Arab League Envoy to Syria, Mr. Kofi Annan, cited as being due to “the clear lack of unity” of the U.N. Security Council, highlighted the urgent need for the UN to develop an “Enforcement Mechanism” to uphold the “UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime Genocide” (“the Convention”). The Convention was first adopted at the United Nations General Assembly on 9th December 1948 and came into force on 12th January 1951, having been ratified by the necessary 22 signatories. Since 1951 the Convention has been further ratified by 140 of the UN member states
Years of campaigning by the lawyer Raphael Lemkin led to the creation of the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” In the Convention, the contracting parties confirmed unanimously that Genocide whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law.
They also agreed that Genocide must be both prevented and punished. Furthermore, it specifically included various ancillary obligations for its signatories: