Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS)
Two of our team members, Abantee Dutta and Anubhab Atreya, presented a working paper titled “Preventing Genocide? Contemplating the Role of the Supreme Court of India” at the 14th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) at Phnom Penh, Cambodia on July 14-19, 2019.
The International Association of Genocide Scholars is a global, interdisciplinary, non-partisan organisation that seeks to further research and teaching about the nature, causes and consequences of genocide, and advance policy studies on genocide prevention. The theme of the conference was “Rethinking Genocide Studies and Prevention”. The objective was to identify those cases and issues which had not been examined sufficiently or left unexplored through engagement with diverse lines of enquiry. The intention was notable in its view to bring attention to areas of inquiry which had been “conceptually, disciplinarily, structurally” relegated to the margins of the discipline.
Studio Nilima’s presentation reflected on the question of whether the Constitutional Court, that is, the Supreme Court of India via the normative powers of the Constitution can be leveraged to prevent genocide and/or crimes against humanity. The presentation involved a description of the normative powers of the Supreme Court and its interaction with the idea of transformative constitutionalism. It argued that the Supreme Court’s actions in cases of mass atrocities could be mapped on a “spectrum” when examined through past case studies. This framework was then utilised to look at the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Assam, while dealing with the specific complexities that make it genocide prone to explore whether the Constitutional Court in India can prevent such a crisis?