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The term ethnic cleansing was first coined during the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. The term has entered popular and legal discourse and is frequently used by journalists, historians and jurists, and has also been included in UN resolutions and judicial decisions of the ICTY and ICTR. To date, however, the act of ethnic cleansing has never been strictly defined or classified, creating as a consequence a glaring and deeply troubling legal loophole actions considered to constitute 'ethnic cleansing' cannot be prosecuted under this rubric while there remains no uniform legal comprehension of the practice. With fresh instances of destruction and expulsion of civilian groups continually emerging over the globe, the need to redress this situation is ever more urgent. This book confronts the problem of the legal uncertainty surrounding the definition and classification of ethnic cleansing, exploring whether the use of the term ethnic cleansing constitutes a valuable contribution to legal understanding and praxis. The premise underlying the book is that acts of ethnic cleansing are, first and foremost, a criminal issue and must therefore be precisely placed within the context of the international law order. In particular, it addresses the question of the specificity of the act and its relation to existing categories of international crime, exploring the relationship between ethnic cleansing and genocide, but also extending to war crimes and crimes against humanity. The book goes on to show how the current understanding of ethnic cleansing singularly fails to provide an efficient instrument for identification, and argued that the act, in having its own distinctive characteristics, conditions and exigencies, ought to be granted its own classification as a specific independent crime.