|This article is an early attempt to theorize the term ethnic cleansing. The author is analyzing the legal, political and discursive usage of the term in an attempt to disentangle them. By warning that the term encompasses a set of practices, many of which in clear breach with international humanitarian law and human rights law, the author is arguing that the term is used as a political attempt of international community in an attempt to evade the obligations laid down by international law. He maintains that legal content of the term should be separated from its wider usage. By noting that the term derives from Serbo-Croatian language, and has gained attention in the course of war in former Yugoslavia, he argues that the practice behind the term is not specific to Yugoslav context, but can occur in the course of ethnic conflicts.