Genocide has been a legally established and applicable concept since the adoption of the Convention on Genocide and its Punishment in 1948. But long before that, the phenomenon existed and had a name in all civilizations. With the exception of the Armenian genocide, the UN recognizes only those crimes that were committed after that date. They reduce this crime to its legal form. However, it is a social fact that did not appear all of a sudden. It has a past that goes back centuries. It exists and evolves with society. Legal science, without getting hung up on the notion of genocide, has a duty to study this social phenomenon, to identify its basic characteristics, identical, by comparison, in all the places and civilizations where it has been known, to establish by convention a universal notion that can logically be applied to it, and to develop a clear and concise definition. Otherwise, the current definition of genocide will long crystallize the fact of Nazi genocide, while obscuring the fact that other peoples have experienced or committed the same crime of extermination of peoples. It is a serious mistake to generalize a fact that is especially tied to a single case. The present study falls within this framework, although it should be recognized at the outset that it is a long and difficult task, given the complexity of the phenomenon and the density of facts about the extermination of peoples to be analyzed. The result of the study is an attempt to universalize the definition and objective criteria that could contribute to the legal recognition of such a crime, which is not subject to the statute of limitations.

Key-words: Genocide, crime of extermination of peoples, perpetrator of crime, victim of crime, intentional element, crime contra pacis, active genocide, cold genocide.