Title: Linguistic Genocide
Author: Amir Salimi
Place of publication: Germany
Publisher: Ruhr University Bochum.
Release date: 2019.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”1
In the draft of the CPPCG, the purpose of the convention was to “prevent the destruction of racial,national, linguistic, religious or political groups of human beings.” Under the section defining the
acts of Genocide”, prohibition of the use of the national language even in private intercourse; or systematic destruction of books printed in national language or of religious works or prohibition
of new publications…” was considered to be under the scope of act of genocide. During the process of adopting the convention, this was put aside. I believe that alongside with physical genocide,
linguistic genocide is also a means of destruction of a minority by violating their linguistic rights.In other words, a State can change a minority`s identity by changing their language and culture,
using policies such as abandoning a language, adopting constitutional policies like appointing acertain language as an official language or labeling a language as dialect or accent, thus disregarding the language and culture of certain groups, which could lead to their elimination by eradicating a language. In other words, the group loses its own identity. Therefore, the State can
commit genocide without killing the population or physical destruction, by changing the identity and preventing the population from culturally reproducing themselves.
This said, although using the term genocide in this matter seems to be too strong, one must keep in mind that it is very difficult, even in the case of physical genocide, to prove the intent of the
State, or the majority group. In other words, as it has been indicated under Rome Statute, alongside all required elements in order to recognize specific acts as genocide, perhaps the most importent.
element is to have the “special Intention”. It means that destruction must be done with a specific intent to destroy a certain group regarding their ethnicity. So if the intent is missing or it is not
feasible to prove the existence of the intent, it cannot be considered as genocide.