The Crime of Crimes

Genocide as Criminology's Blind Spot


  • Natalie Mamo MacEwan University



genocide, international crime, international criminal justice, critical criminology, criminology


Genocide is a topic that is almost universally ignored by criminology. While it is frequently referred to as “the crime of crimes,” there is virtually no criminological coverage of genocide. The following analysis is a review of existing criminological literature in genocide studies, situating mainstream criminology’s ignorance of genocide in a socio-historical context in order to determine the reason(s) for this disregard. This analysis proposes that the mainstream criminological ignorance of genocide is a calculated and intentional act. Such willful blindness avoids and deflects from disciplinary accountability because of criminology’s historical complacency in genocide. Most of the existing mainstream criminological literature on genocide is criticized because of its hyperfocus on definitional arguments, the redemptive nature of such academic coverage, and the quantification of such atrocities. Thus, an argument for a critical criminological approach to genocide studies is desperately needed for criminology to interpret genocidal acts adequately.