Genocide is the complete or partial destruction of certain groups of the population based on nationality, race, religion or ethnicity. This is an international crime, a flagrant violation of human rights. Unlike racism or fascism, crimes of genocide are actions that have caused very serious damage to a particular ethnic group in terms of life, health or procreation.
The word "genocide" was first heard in 1944. Raphael Lemkin, a Polish lawyer of Jewish origin, combined the Greek word genos ("clan, tribe") with the Latin caedo ("I kill"). With this term Lemkin called the Nazi policy of systematic extermination of European Jews. Thanks to his efforts, in 1948 the UN approved a convention that declared genocide a crime in violation of international legal norms. The states that signed this convention pledged to prevent and punish genocide. According to this legal act, signs of genocide are direct killings, grievous bodily harm, forced sterilization in order to prevent childbirth, forced removal of children to other communities, forced resettlement, and creation of conditions incompatible with life. In addition to the Jewish ghetto, genocide is the massacre perpetrated by the Turks over the Armenian population in 1915, ethnic cleansing in Croatia, the annihilation of three million Cambodians by the Pol Pot regime and other similar crimes. Genocide does not mean the immediate destruction of a nation. Rather, it presupposes a coordinated plan of action that aims to destroy the foundations of the existence of certain national groups. Such a plan consists in the destruction of political and social institutions, language, culture, national identity, and the economic foundations of the existence of these groups. The genocide is directed generally against the national group. This crime has received the status of a crime against humanity. It has no statute of limitations, that is, criminals will be punished even for very long-standing manifestations of genocide. Under the legislation of the Russian Federation, such crimes are punishable by imprisonment for up to 20 years or life imprisonment.