The parties to the 1948 Convention on Genocide are obliged to prevent and punish crimes of genocide, which are defined as acts undertaken with “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.” This legal obligation forms the backdrop to a fateful argument about the definition of horrific crimes being perpetrated by the government of Sudan and proxy Arab militias called the Janjaweed against non-Arab tribal peoples of the Darfur region in western Sudan. What is happening in Darfur is no less an instance of ethnic cleansing than what Serbs did to Bosnian Muslims or Saddam Hussein did to Iraqi Kurds and the marsh Arabs of southern Iraq. But it is UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s denial of the genocide in Darfur that does the greatest damage. Every day that the UN refuse to call the attempt by its true name, more of those people perish. Returning from a recent trip to refugee sites on the border between Sudan and Chad, a team of investigators from Physicians for Human Rights issued a report that found several indicators of genocide in Darfur. The eyewitness acco-unts from refugees are heartbreaking — the destruction of villages, the killing, rape of wo-men. Annan should heed calls that are now coming from ma-ny quarters for humanitarian intervention to stop the genocide in Sudan. — The Boston Globe