A Century of Genocides and Justice: The Trial of Paul Touvier
Expert literary works, such as the work of Ben Kiernan, have explored the root causes and timetables of genocides and the links between them. Scholars like Hannah Arendt studied the individuals psyche in greater depth through Eichmann who participated in and led detrimental decisions during the Holocaust. The development of studies regarding genocide has led to works involving cases near the end of the 1900’s, particularly in France, as seen through works published by Henry Rousso and Richard Golsan. Then, it raises questions regarding the work of memory and identity and its role in determining what justice means following a genocide. In order to understand the concept of genocides, it is necessary to examine the trials that follow each genocide. It is then possible to discover what they have in common through comparative research, and how memory and time play a role in determining how justice is then carried out. The development of these trials in the 20th century set precedents, but also changed the way and the meaning of Crimes Against Humanity. I will analyze the trials of Paul Touvier, the Armenian Genocide, and the Rwandan Genocide to demonstrate these changes and the necessities of trials following a genocide. Conducted through a historical lens this study is using Paul Touvier’s trial, the first French man charged for Crimes Against Humanity, as a point of reference. Then, the comparison of other men through various genocides charged for international crimes involving mass violence. The objective of this research is to compare how genocides over the past 100 years or so have come to an end. Along with what forms of justice were carried out in regards to the party deemed responsible. The crimes of committing a genocide had been discussed at great length in international courts and at conventions hosted by the United Nations. However, the policies of conventions are still vague in how to prosecute genocide, and the implementation of these policies has varied throughout history. By further investigating the trials of a post-genocide regime, this paper will attempt to identify the goals of each trial and how the type of court system, used to conduct each case played a role. This paper will contribute to ongoing research of genocides because it adds further analysis on how to best approach genocide as a crime and the impacts that previous implementations are carrying in to society today. This study is critical and relevant because genocides continue to be a crime committed in our time, and with no standard of consequences. By pursuing my research in a comparative study of the modern era, I hope to analyze a less tackled aspect of genocides. Which is the conclusion of a genocide and the condemnation, or lack thereof, following genocides. To study this further, I will be focusing my research on the era of the 1900’s to present; while discussing the methods used in carrying out justice following a myriad of genocides.
Hage, Rachel (2020). A Century of Genocides and Justice: The Trial of Paul Touvier. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from