RAPHAËL Lemkin, a Jewish Polish lawyer, was the person who coined the word genocide. It came from the Latin words genus meaning race and cide meaning kill. Genocide is the deliberate killing of a large number of people of a particular national, ethnic, racial or religious group for the purpose of destroying it. The term aptly describes what the Nazis did to Lemkin's people during the Second World War when they killed approximately 6 million Jews. Before the Second World War, the word genocide did not exist.

However, the practice of genocide is an old one; it is the intentional killing on a mass scale, often confused with other crimes against humanity that belong to a different category of international crime, according to the Rome Statute. (Those could be the subject of another essay.)

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