I explore the nexus between genocide and secession. I argue, first, that legal ambiguity creates space for overlap, with genocide claims frequently proving to be the weapon of choice for relatively weak secessionist entities struggling to enhance their bargaining position and achieve
international legal status. Using new data, I find that nearly three-quarters of pro-autonomy entities belonging to the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) have made genocide allegations an important part of their struggle. Next, I use the three secessionist cases of South
Ossetia and Abkhazia (Georgia) and Kosovo (Yugoslavia) to analyze how genocide allegations alter local and international stances and significantly complicate the nature of conflict resolution.