Genocide is intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group) in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word γένος ("race, people") and the Latin suffix -caedo ("act of killing"). The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".
The term genocide was coined by Raphael Lemkin in his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe; it has been applied to the Holocaust, and many other mass killings including the genocide of indigenous peoples in the Americas, the Armenian Genocide, the Greek genocide, the Assyrian genocide, the Serbian genocide, the Holodomor, the Indonesian genocide, the Guatemalan genocide, the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, the Cambodian genocide, and after 1980 the Bosnian genocide, the Anfal genocide, the Darfur genocide, and the Rwandan genocide. Others are listed in Genocides in history and List of genocides by death toll.
The Political Instability Task Force estimated that, between 1956 and 2016, a total of forty-three genocides took place, causing the death of about 50 million people. The UNHCR estimated that a further 50 million had been displaced by such episodes of violence up to 2008.
Before 1944, various terms, including "massacre", "crimes against humanity", and "extermination" were used to describe intentional, systematic killings. In 1941, Winston Churchill, when describing the German invasion of the Soviet Union, spoke of "a crime without a name".
In 1944, Raphael Lemkin created the term genocide in his book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. The book describes the implementation of Nazi policies in occupied Europe, and cites earlier mass killings. The term described the systematic destruction of a nation or people, and the word was quickly adopted by many in the international community. The word genocide is the combination of the Greek prefix geno- (γένος, meaning 'race' or 'people') and caedere (the Latin word for "to kill"). The word genocide was used in indictments at the Nuremberg trials, held from 1945, but solely as a descriptive term, not yet as a formal legal term.
According to Lemkin, genocide was "a coordinated strategy to destroy a group of people, a process that could be accomplished through total annihilation as well as strategies that eliminate key elements of the group's basic existence, including language, culture, and economic infrastructure". Lemkin defined genocide as follows:
Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.
The preamble to the 1948 Genocide Convention (CPPCG) notes that instances of genocide have taken place throughout history. But it was not until Lemkin coined the term and the prosecution of perpetrators of the Holocaust at the Nuremberg trials that the United Nations defined the crime of genocide under international law in the Genocide Convention.
Lemkin's lifelong interest in the mass murder of populations in the 20th century was initially in response to the killing of Armenians in 1915 and later to the mass murders in Nazi-controlled Europe. He referred to the Albigensian Crusade as "one of the most conclusive cases of genocide in religious history". He dedicated his life to mobilizing the international community, to work together to prevent the occurrence of such events. In a 1949 interview, Lemkin said "I became interested in genocide because it happened so many times. It happened to the Armenians, then after the Armenians, Hitler took action."
After the Holocaust, which had been perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its allies prior to and during World War II, Lemkin successfully campaigned for the universal acceptance of international laws defining and forbidding genocides. In 1946, the first session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that "affirmed" that genocide was a crime under international law and enumerated examples of such events (but did not provide a full legal definition of the crime). In 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) which defined the crime of genocide for the first time.
Genocide is a denial of the right of existence of entire human groups, as homicide is the denial of the right to live of individual human beings; such denial of the right of existence shocks the conscience of mankind, results in great losses to humanity in the form of cultural and other contributions represented by these human groups, and is contrary to moral law and the spirit and aims of the United Nations. Many instances of such crimes of genocide have occurred when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part.— UN Resolution 96(1), 11 December 1946
The CPPCG was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and came into effect on 12 January 1951 (Resolution 260 (III)). It contains an internationally recognized definition of genocide which has been incorporated into the national criminal legislation of many countries, and was also adopted by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which established the International Criminal Court (ICC). Article II of the Convention defines genocide as:
- (a) Killing members of the group;
- (b) Causing serious bodily harm, or harm to mental health, to members of the group;
- (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
The first draft of the Convention included political killings, but these provisions were removed in a political and diplomatic compromise following objections from some countries, including the USSR, a permanent security council member. The USSR argued that the Convention's definition should follow the etymology of the term, and may have feared greater international scrutiny of its own mass killings. Other nations feared that including political groups in the definition would invite international intervention in domestic politics. However leading genocide scholar William Schabas states: "Rigorous examination of the travaux fails to confirm a popular impression in the literature that the opposition to inclusion of political genocide was some Soviet machination. The Soviet views were also shared by a number of other States for whom it is difficult to establish any geographic or social common denominator: Lebanon, Sweden, Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Iran, Egypt, Belgium, and Uruguay. The exclusion of political groups was in fact originally promoted by a non-governmental organization, the World Jewish Congress, and it corresponded to Raphael Lemkin's vision of the nature of the crime of genocide."
The convention's purpose and scope was later described by the United Nations Security Council as follows:
The Convention was manifestly adopted for humanitarian and civilizing purposes. Its objectives are to safeguard the very existence of certain human groups and to affirm and emphasize the most elementary principles of humanity and morality. In view of the rights involved, the legal obligations to refrain from genocide are recognized as erga omnes.
When the Convention was drafted, it was already envisaged that it would apply not only to then existing forms of genocide, but also "to any method that might be evolved in the future with a view to destroying the physical existence of a group". As emphasized in the preamble to the Convention, genocide has marred all periods of history, and it is this very tragic recognition that gives the concept its historical evolutionary nature.
The Convention must be interpreted in good faith, in accordance with the ordinary meaning of its terms, in their context, and in the light of its object and purpose. Moreover, the text of the Convention should be interpreted in such a way that a reason and a meaning can be attributed to every word. No word or provision may be disregarded or treated as superfluous, unless this is absolutely necessary to give effect to the terms read as a whole.
Genocide is a crime under international law regardless of "whether committed in time of peace or in time of war" (art. I). Thus, irrespective of the context in which it occurs (for example, peacetime, internal strife, international armed conflict or whatever the general overall situation) genocide is a punishable international crime.— UN Commission of Experts that examined violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of the former Yugoslavia.
In 2007, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) noted in its judgement on Jorgic v. Germany case that, in 1992, the majority of legal scholars took the narrow view that "intent to destroy" in the CPPCG meant the intended physical-biological destruction of the protected group, and that this was still the majority opinion. But the ECHR also noted that a minority took a broader view, and did not consider biological-physical destruction to be necessary, as the intent to destroy a national, racial, religious or ethnic group was enough to qualify as genocide.
In the same judgement, the ECHR reviewed the judgements of several international and municipal courts. It noted that the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the International Court of Justice had agreed with the narrow interpretation (that biological-physical destruction was necessary for an act to qualify as genocide). The ECHR also noted that at the time of its judgement, apart from courts in Germany (which had taken a broad view), that there had been few cases of genocide under other Convention states' municipal laws, and that "There are no reported cases in which the courts of these States have defined the type of group destruction the perpetrator must have intended in order to be found guilty of genocide."
In the case of "Onesphore Rwabukombe", the German Supreme Court adhered to its previous judgement, and did not follow the narrow interpretation of the ICTY and the ICJ.
The phrase "in whole or in part" has been subject to much discussion by scholars of international humanitarian law. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia found in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic – Trial Chamber I – Judgment – IT-98-33 (2001) ICTY8 (2 August 2001) that Genocide had been committed. In Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic – Appeals Chamber – Judgment – IT-98-33 (2004) ICTY 7 (19 April 2004) paragraphs 8, 9, 10, and 11 addressed the issue of in part and found that "the part must be a substantial part of that group. The aim of the Genocide Convention is to prevent the intentional destruction of entire human groups, and the part targeted must be significant enough to have an impact on the group as a whole." The Appeals Chamber goes into details of other cases and the opinions of respected commentators on the Genocide Convention to explain how they came to this conclusion.
The judges continue in paragraph 12, "The determination of when the targeted part is substantial enough to meet this requirement may involve a number of considerations. The numeric size of the targeted part of the group is the necessary and important starting point, though not in all cases the ending point of the inquiry. The number of individuals targeted should be evaluated not only in absolute terms, but also in relation to the overall size of the entire group. In addition to the numeric size of the targeted portion, its prominence within the group can be a useful consideration. If a specific part of the group is emblematic of the overall group, or is essential to its survival, that may support a finding that the part qualifies as substantial within the meaning of Article 4 [of the Tribunal's Statute]."
In paragraph 13 the judges raise the issue of the perpetrators' access to the victims: "The historical examples of genocide also suggest that the area of the perpetrators' activity and control, as well as the possible extent of their reach, should be considered. [...] The intent to destroy formed by a perpetrator of genocide will always be limited by the opportunity presented to him. While this factor alone will not indicate whether the targeted group is substantial, it can—in combination with other factors—inform the analysis."
The Convention came into force as international law on 12 January 1951 after the minimum 20 countries became parties. At that time however, only two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council were parties to the treaty: France and the Republic of China. The Soviet Union ratified in 1954, the United Kingdom in 1970, the People's Republic of China in 1983 (having replaced the Taiwan-based Republic of China on the UNSC in 1971), and the United States in 1988. This long delay in support for the Convention by the world's most powerful nations caused the Convention to languish for over four decades. Only in the 1990s did the international law on the crime of genocide begin to be enforced.
UN Security Council Resolution 1674, adopted by the United Nations Security Council on 28 April 2006, "reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity". The resolution committed the Council to action to protect civilians in armed conflict.
In 2008 the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1820, which noted that "rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide".
William Schabas has suggested that a permanent body as recommended by the Whitaker Report to monitor the implementation of the Genocide Convention, and require States to issue reports on their compliance with the convention (such as were incorporated into the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture), would make the convention more effective.
Writing in 1998 Kurt Jonassohn and Karin Björnson stated that the CPPCG was a legal instrument resulting from a diplomatic compromise. As such the wording of the treaty is not intended to be a definition suitable as a research tool, and although it is used for this purpose, as it has an international legal credibility that others lack, other definitions have also been postulated. Jonassohn and Björnson go on to say that none of these alternative definitions have gained widespread support for various reasons.
Jonassohn and Björnson postulate that the major reason why no single generally accepted genocide definition has emerged is because academics have adjusted their focus to emphasise different periods and have found it expedient to use slightly different definitions to help them interpret events. For example, Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn studied the whole of human history, while Leo Kuper and R. J. Rummel in their more recent works concentrated on the 20th century, and Helen Fein, Barbara Harff and Ted Gurr have looked at post World War II events. Jonassohn and Björnson are critical of some of these studies, arguing that they are too expansive, and conclude that the academic discipline of genocide studies is too young to have a canon of work on which to build an academic paradigm.
The exclusion of social and political groups as targets of genocide in the CPPCG legal definition has been criticized by some historians and sociologists, for example M. Hassan Kakar in his book The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979–1982 argues that the international definition of genocide is too restricted, and that it should include political groups or any group so defined by the perpetrator and quotes Chalk and Jonassohn: "Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator." In turn some states such as Ethiopia, France, and Spain include political groups as legitimate genocide victims in their anti-genocide laws.
Barbara Harff and Ted Gurr defined genocide as "the promotion and execution of policies by a state or its agents which result in the deaths of a substantial portion of a group ... [when] the victimized groups are defined primarily in terms of their communal characteristics, i.e., ethnicity, religion or nationality". Harff and Gurr also differentiate between genocides and politicides by the characteristics by which members of a group are identified by the state. In genocides, the victimized groups are defined primarily in terms of their communal characteristics, i.e., ethnicity, religion or nationality. In politicides the victim groups are defined primarily in terms of their hierarchical position or political opposition to the regime and dominant groups. Daniel D. Polsby and Don B. Kates, Jr. state that "we follow Harff's distinction between genocides and 'pogroms', which she describes as 'short-lived outbursts by mobs, which, although often condoned by authorities, rarely persist'. If the violence persists for long enough, however, Harff argues, the distinction between condonation and complicity collapses."
According to R. J. Rummel, genocide has 3 different meanings. The ordinary meaning is murder by government of people due to their national, ethnic, racial, or religious group membership. The legal meaning of genocide refers to the international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). This also includes non-killings that in the end eliminate the group, such as preventing births or forcibly transferring children out of the group to another group. A generalized meaning of genocide is similar to the ordinary meaning but also includes government killings of political opponents or otherwise intentional murder. It is to avoid confusion regarding what meaning is intended that Rummel created the term democide for the third meaning.
Highlighting the potential for state and non-state actors to commit genocide in the 21st century, for example, in failed states or as non-state actors acquire weapons of mass destruction, Adrian Gallagher defined genocide as 'When a source of collective power (usually a state) intentionally uses its power base to implement a process of destruction in order to destroy a group (as defined by the perpetrator), in whole or in substantial part, dependent upon relative group size'. The definition upholds the centrality of intent, the multidimensional understanding of destroy, broadens the definition of group identity beyond that of the 1948 definition yet argues that a substantial part of a group has to be destroyed before it can be classified as genocide.
All signatories to the CPPCG are required to prevent and punish acts of genocide, both in peace and wartime, though some barriers make this enforcement difficult. In particular, some of the signatories—namely, Bahrain, Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, the United States, Vietnam, Yemen, and former Yugoslavia—signed with the proviso that no claim of genocide could be brought against them at the International Court of Justice without their consent. Despite official protests from other signatories (notably Cyprus and Norway) on the ethics and legal standing of these reservations, the immunity from prosecution they grant has been invoked from time to time, as when the United States refused to allow a charge of genocide brought against it by former Yugoslavia following the 1999 Kosovo War.
It is commonly accepted that, at least since World War II, genocide has been illegal under customary international law as a peremptory norm, as well as under conventional international law. Acts of genocide are generally difficult to establish for prosecution, because a chain of accountability must be established. International criminal courts and tribunals function primarily because the states involved are incapable or unwilling to prosecute crimes of this magnitude themselves.
The Nazi leaders who were prosecuted shortly after World War II for taking part in the Holocaust, and other mass murders, were charged under existing international laws, such as crimes against humanity, as the crime of "genocide' was not formally defined until the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Nevertheless, the recently coined term appeared in the indictment of the Nazi leaders, Count 3, which stated that those charged had "conducted deliberate and systematic genocide—namely, the extermination of racial and national groups—against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy particular races and classes of people, and national, racial or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, Gypsies and others."
The term Bosnian genocide is used to refer either to the killings committed by Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995, or to ethnic cleansing that took place elsewhere during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War.
In 2001, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) judged that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre was an act of genocide. On 26 February 2007, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in the Bosnian Genocide Case upheld the ICTY's earlier finding that the massacre in Srebrenica and Zepa constituted genocide, but found that the Serbian government had not participated in a wider genocide on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, as the Bosnian government had claimed.
On 12 July 2007, European Court of Human Rights when dismissing the appeal by Nikola Jorgić against his conviction for genocide by a German court (Jorgic v. Germany) noted that the German courts wider interpretation of genocide has since been rejected by international courts considering similar cases. The ECHR also noted that in the 21st century "Amongst scholars, the majority have taken the view that ethnic cleansing, in the way in which it was carried out by the Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to expel Muslims and Croats from their homes, did not constitute genocide. However, there are also a considerable number of scholars who have suggested that these acts did amount to genocide, and the ICTY has found in the Momcilo Krajisnik case that the actus reus of genocide was met in Prijedor "With regard to the charge of genocide, the Chamber found that in spite of evidence of acts perpetrated in the municipalities which constituted the actus reus of genocide".
About 30 people have been indicted for participating in genocide or complicity in genocide during the early 1990s in Bosnia. To date, after several plea bargains and some convictions that were successfully challenged on appeal two men, Vujadin Popović and Ljubiša Beara, have been found guilty of committing genocide, Zdravko Tolimir has been found guilty of committing genocide and conspiracy to commit genocide, and two others, Radislav Krstić and Drago Nikolić, have been found guilty of aiding and abetting genocide. Three others have been found guilty of participating in genocides in Bosnia by German courts, one of whom Nikola Jorgić lost an appeal against his conviction in the European Court of Human Rights. A further eight men, former members of the Bosnian Serb security forces were found guilty of genocide by the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina (See List of Bosnian genocide prosecutions).
Slobodan Milošević, as the former President of Serbia and of Yugoslavia, was the most senior political figure to stand trial at the ICTY. He died on 11 March 2006 during his trial where he was accused of genocide or complicity in genocide in territories within Bosnia and Herzegovina, so no verdict was returned. In 1995, the ICTY issued a warrant for the arrest of Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić on several charges including genocide. On 21 July 2008, Karadžić was arrested in Belgrade, and later tried in The Hague accused of genocide among other crimes. On 24 March 2016, Karadžić was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, war crimes and crimes against humanity, 10 of the 11 charges in total, and sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment. Mladić was arrested on 26 May 2011 in Lazarevo, Serbia, and was tried in The Hague. The verdict, delivered on 22 November 2017 found Mladić guilty of 10 of the 11 charges, including genocide and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is a court under the auspices of the United Nations for the prosecution of offenses committed in Rwanda during the genocide which occurred there during April 1994, commencing on 6 April. The ICTR was created on 8 November 1994 by the Security Council of the United Nations in order to judge those people responsible for the acts of genocide and other serious violations of the international law performed in the territory of Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between 1 January and 31 December 1994.
So far, the ICTR has finished nineteen trials and convicted twenty seven accused persons. On 14 December 2009 two more men were accused and convicted for their crimes. Another twenty five persons are still on trial. Twenty-one are awaiting trial in detention, two more added on 14 December 2009. Ten are still at large. The first trial, of Jean-Paul Akayesu, began in 1997. In October 1998, Akayesu was sentenced to life imprisonment. Jean Kambanda, interim Prime Minister, pleaded guilty.
The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, Ta Mok and other leaders, organized the mass killing of ideologically suspect groups. The total number of victims is estimated at approximately 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975–1979, including deaths from slave labour.
On 6 June 2003 the Cambodian government and the United Nations reached an agreement to set up the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) which would focus exclusively on crimes committed by the most senior Khmer Rouge officials during the period of Khmer Rouge rule of 1975–1979. The judges were sworn in early July 2006.
There has been disagreement between some of the international jurists and the Cambodian government over whether any other people should be tried by the Tribunal.
Since 2002, the International Criminal Court can exercise its jurisdiction if national courts are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute genocide, thus being a "court of last resort," leaving the primary responsibility to exercise jurisdiction over alleged criminals to individual states. Due to the United States concerns over the ICC, the United States prefers to continue to use specially convened international tribunals for such investigations and potential prosecutions.
There has been much debate over categorizing the situation in Darfur as genocide. The ongoing conflict in Darfur, Sudan, which started in 2003, was declared a "genocide" by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell on 9 September 2004 in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Since that time however, no other permanent member of the UN Security Council has done so. In fact, in January 2005, an International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1564 of 2004, issued a report to the Secretary-General stating that "the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide." Nevertheless, the Commission cautioned that "The conclusion that no genocidal policy has been pursued and implemented in Darfur by the Government authorities, directly or through the militias under their control, should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated in that region. International offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide."
In March 2005, the Security Council formally referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, taking into account the Commission report but without mentioning any specific crimes. Two permanent members of the Security Council, the United States and China, abstained from the vote on the referral resolution. As of his fourth report to the Security Council, the Prosecutor has found "reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals identified [in the UN Security Council Resolution 1593] have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes," but did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute for genocide.
In April 2007, the Judges of the ICC issued arrest warrants against the former Minister of State for the Interior, Ahmad Harun, and a Militia Janjaweed leader, Ali Kushayb, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.
On 14 July 2008, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir: three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. The ICC's prosecutors claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity.
On 4 March 2009, the ICC issued a warrant of arrest for Omar Al Bashir, President of Sudan as the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I concluded that his position as head of state does not grant him immunity against prosecution before the ICC. The warrant was for war crimes and crimes against humanity. It did not include the crime of genocide because the majority of the Chamber did not find that the prosecutors had provided enough evidence to include such a charge. Later the decision was changed by the Appeals Panel and after issuing the second decision, charges against Omar al-Bashir include three counts of genocide.
Revisionist attempts to challenge or affirm claims of genocide are illegal in some countries. For example, several European countries ban the denial of the Holocaust or the Armenian Genocide, while in Turkey referring to the mass killings of Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians and Maronites as genocides may be prosecuted under Article 301.
William Rubinstein argues that the origin of 20th century genocides can be traced back to the collapse of the elite structure and normal modes of government in parts of Europe following the First World War:
The 'Age of Totalitarianism' included nearly all of the infamous examples of genocide in modern history, headed by the Jewish Holocaust, but also comprising the mass murders and purges of the Communist world, other mass killings carried out by Nazi Germany and its allies, and also the Armenian genocide of 1915. All these slaughters, it is argued here, had a common origin, the collapse of the elite structure and normal modes of government of much of central, eastern and southern Europe as a result of the First World War, without which surely neither Communism nor Fascism would have existed except in the minds of unknown agitators and crackpots.— William Rubinstein, Genocide: a history
For genocide to happen, there must be certain preconditions. Foremost among them is a national culture that does not place a high value on human life. A totalitarian society, with its assumed superior ideology, is also a precondition for genocidal acts. In addition, members of the dominant society must perceive their potential victims as less than fully human: as "pagans," "savages," "uncouth barbarians," "unbelievers," "effete degenerates," "ritual outlaws," "racial inferiors," "class antagonists," "counterrevolutionaries," and so on. In themselves, these conditions are not enough for the perpetrators to commit genocide. To do that—that is, to commit genocide—the perpetrators need a strong, centralized authority and bureaucratic organization as well as pathological individuals and criminals. Also required is a campaign of vilification and dehumanization of the victims by the perpetrators, who are usually new states or new regimes attempting to impose conformity to a new ideology and its model of society.— M. Hassan Kakar
In 1996 Gregory Stanton, the president of Genocide Watch, presented a briefing paper called "The 8 Stages of Genocide" at the United States Department of State. In it he suggested that genocide develops in eight stages that are "predictable but not inexorable".
The Stanton paper was presented to the State Department, shortly after the Rwandan Genocide and much of its analysis is based on why that genocide occurred. The preventative measures suggested, given the briefing paper's original target audience, were those that the United States could implement directly or indirectly by using its influence on other governments.
|People are divided into "us and them".||"The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend... divisions."|
|"When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups..."||"To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden as can hate speech".|
|"One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases."||"Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen."|
|"Genocide is always organized... Special army units or militias are often trained and armed..."||"The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations"|
|"Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda..."||"Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups...Coups d'état by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions."|
|"Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity..."||"At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. ..."|
|"It is 'extermination' to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human".||"At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection."|
|"The perpetrators... deny that they committed any crimes..."||"The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts"|
In April 2012, it was reported that Stanton would soon be officially adding two new stages, Discrimination and Persecution, to his original theory, which would make for a 10-stage theory of genocide.
In view of this rather poor record of ending genocide, the question needs to be asked why the "genocide studies" paradigm cannot predict and prevent genocides with any accuracy and reliability. The paradigm of "genocide studies," as currently constituted in North America in particular, has both strengths and limitations. While the moral fervor and public activism is admirable and salutary, the paradigm appears blind to its own implication in imperial projects that are themselves as much part of the problem as they are part of the solution. The US government called Darfur a genocide to appease domestic lobbies, and because the statement cost it nothing. Darfur will end when it suits the great powers that have a stake in the region.— Dirk Moses
Other authors have focused on the structural conditions leading up to genocide and the psychological and social processes that create an evolution toward genocide. Ervin Staub showed that economic deterioration and political confusion and disorganization were starting points of increasing discrimination and violence in many instances of genocides and mass killing. They lead to scapegoating a group and ideologies that identified that group as an enemy. A history of devaluation of the group that becomes the victim, past violence against the group that becomes the perpetrator leading to psychological wounds, authoritarian cultures and political systems, and the passivity of internal and external witnesses (bystanders) all contribute to the probability that the violence develops into genocide. Intense conflict between groups that is unresolved, becomes intractable and violent can also lead to genocide. The conditions that lead to genocide provide guidance to early prevention, such as humanizing a devalued group, creating ideologies that embrace all groups, and activating bystander responses. There is substantial research to indicate how this can be done, but information is only slowly transformed into action.
Kjell Anderson uses a dichotomistic classification of genocides: "hot genocides, motivated by hate and the victims' threatening nature, with low-intensity cold genocides, rooted in victims' supposed inferiority."
And while there is still no consensus on the matter, some scholars have described the Indonesian violence as genocide.
Lemkin's memoirs detail early exposure to the history of Ottoman attacks against Armenians (which most scholars believe constitute genocide), antisemitic pogroms, and other histories of group-targeted violence as key to forming his beliefs about the need for legal protection of groups.
Research institutes, advocacy groups, and other organizations
The genocide in Bangladesh began on 26 March 1971 with the launch of Operation Searchlight, as West Pakistan began a military crackdown on the Eastern wing of the nation to suppress Bengali calls for self-determination rights. During the nine-month-long Bangladesh War for Liberation, members of the Pakistani military and supporting Islamist militias from Jamaat-e-Islami killed between 300,000 and 3,000,000 people and raped between 200,000 and 400,000 Bangladeshi women, according to Bangladeshi and Indian sources, in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape. In December 2011, a BBC News report cited unnamed "independent researchers" as claiming that between 300,000 and 500,000 people were killed. The actions against women were supported by Muslim religious leaders, who declared that Bengali women were gonimoter maal (Bengali for "public property"). As a result of the conflict, a further eight to ten million people, mostly Hindus, fled the country at the time to seek refuge in neighbouring India. It is estimated that up to 30 million civilians became internally displaced. During the war, there was also ethnic violence between Bengalis and Urdu-speaking Biharis. Biharis faced reprisals from Bengali mobs and militias and from 1,000 to 150,000 were killed. Other sources claim it was up to 500,000.There is an academic consensus that the events which took place during the Bangladesh Liberation War constituted a genocide, and warrant judicial accountability. However, some scholars deny it was a genocide.Armenian Genocide
The Armenian Genocide (Armenian: Հայոց ցեղասպանություն, Hayots tseghaspanutyun), also known as the Armenian Holocaust, was the Ottoman government's systematic extermination of 1.5 million Armenians, mostly citizens within the Ottoman Empire. The starting date is conventionally held to be 24 April 1915, the day that Ottoman authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to the region of Ankara 235 to 270 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out during and after World War I and implemented in two phases—the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection of army conscripts to forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly, and the infirm on death marches leading to the Syrian Desert. Driven forward by military escorts, the deportees were deprived of food and water and subjected to periodic robbery, rape, and massacre. Other ethnic groups were similarly targeted for extermination in the Assyrian genocide and the Greek genocide, and their treatment is considered by some historians to be part of the same genocidal policy. Most Armenian diaspora communities around the world came into being as a direct result of the genocide.Raphael Lemkin was moved specifically by the annihilation of the Armenians to define systematic and premeditated exterminations within legal parameters and coin the word genocide in 1943. The Armenian Genocide is acknowledged to have been one of the first modern genocides, because scholars point to the organized manner in which the killings were carried out. It is the second most-studied case of genocide after the Holocaust.Turkey denies the word genocide is an accurate term for these crimes. In recent years, Turkey has been faced with repeated calls to recognize them as genocide. As of 2018, 29 countries have officially recognized the mass killings as genocide, as have most genocide scholars and historians.Armenian Genocide denial
Armenian Genocide denial is the act of denying the planned systematic genocide of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I, conducted by the Ottoman government. Turkey similarly denies the genocides perpetrated against indigenous Assyrians and Greeks during the same period. As form of denialism, it can be compared to similar negationist historical revisionisms such as Holocaust denial and Nanking Massacre denial.
The Armenian Genocide is almost unanimously acknowledged as a historical fact by historians and genocide scholars alike. It is also widely considered to have been the first modern genocide, with the word genocide itself having been invented by Raphael Lemkin to describe the sheer scale and success of the plan organized to systematically eliminate the Armenians. Revisionists typically argue the academic consensus of it being a genocide as anti-Turkish propaganda or as a conspiracy spread by the Armenians, instead claiming that it either did not occur or that it was somehow justified at the time.Denial of the Armenian Genocide is officially outlawed in France, Switzerland, Greece, Cyprus, and Slovakia.
Currently, only the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan deny that there was an Armenian genocide, while Pakistan does not recognize Armenia's existence as a country. Many other countries, most controversially the United States (pressured by the Turkish lobby, Israel, and, in the past, the Anti-Defamation League), have deliberately avoided officially recognizing it as a genocide to avoid harming relations with Turkey. In 2016, however, Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt unequivocally acknowledged the veracity of the Armenian Genocide, and stated that the organization supports U.S. recognition. The Turkish government has spent millions of dollars on Washington lobbying over the past decade, much of it focused on the Armenian genocide issue, and has in the past threatened politicians from other countries with strong retaliation to prevent them from using the word genocide. The Turkish Republic has also been accused of attempting to intimidate and silence foreign investigative journalists and genocide scholars.Assyrian genocide
The Assyrian genocide (also known as Sayfo or Seyfo, "Sword"; Syriac: ܩܛܠܥܡܐ ܣܘܪܝܝܐ or ܣܝܦܐ) refers to the mass slaughter of the Assyrian population of the Ottoman Empire and those in neighbouring Persia by Ottoman troops during the First World War, in conjunction with the Armenian and Greek genocides.The Assyrian civilian population of upper Mesopotamia (the Tur Abdin region, the Hakkâri, Van, and Siirt provinces of present-day southeastern Turkey, and the Urmia region of northwestern Iran) was forcibly relocated and massacred by the Ottoman (Turkish) army, together with other armed and allied Muslim peoples, including Kurds, Chechens and Circassians, between 1914 and 1920, with further attacks on unarmed fleeing civilians conducted by local Arab militias.The Assyrian genocide took place in the same context as the Armenian and Greek genocides. Since the Assyrian genocide took place within the context of the much more widespread Armenian genocide, scholarship treating it as a separate event is scarce, with the exceptions of the works of Joseph Yacoub, Gabriele Yonan, David Gaunt and Hannibal Travis, who have classified the genocide as a systematic campaign by the Young Turk government. Other scholars, such as Hilmar Kaiser, Donald Bloxham and Taner Akçam have differing opinions with regards to the extent of governmental involvement and systematic nature of the genocide, as part of the genocide denial movement, asserting a less systematic policy and different treatment in comparison to the Armenians.
Unlike the Armenians, there were no orders to deport Assyrians. The attacks against them were not of standardized nature and incorporated various methods of massacre; in some cities, all Assyrian men were slain and the others were forced to flee. These massacres were often carried out upon the initiatives of local politicians and Kurdish tribes. Exposure, disease and starvation during the flight of Assyrians increased the death toll, and women were subjected to widespread sexual abuse in some areas.
Estimates on the overall death toll have varied. Providing detailed statistics of the various estimates of the Churches' population after the genocide, David Gaunt accepts the figure of 275,000 deaths as reported by the Assyrian delegation at the Treaty of Lausanne and ventures that the death toll would be around 300,000 because of uncounted Assyrian-inhabited areas. Rudolph Rummel gives the number of Christian deaths in Assyrian-populated regions of Turkey as 102,000 and adds to this the killing of around 47,000 Assyrians in Persia.
In 2007, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) reached a consensus that the "Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire between 1914 and 1923 constituted a genocide against Armenians, Assyrians, and Pontian and Anatolian Greeks." The IAGS referred to the work of Gaunt and Travis in passing this resolution. Gregory Stanton, the President of the IAGS in 2007–2008 and the founder of Genocide Watch, endorsed the "repudiation by the world's leading genocide scholars of the Turkish government's ninety-year denial of the Ottoman Empire's genocides against its Christian populations, including Assyrians, Greeks, and Armenians."Bosnian genocide
The term Bosnian genocide refers to either genocide at Srebrenica and Žepa committed by Bosnian Serb forces in 1995 or the wider ethnic cleansing campaign throughout areas controlled by the Army of Republika Srpska that took place during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War.The events in Srebrenica in 1995 included the killing of more than 8,000 Bosniak ("Bosnian Muslim") men and boys, as well as the mass expulsion of another 25,000–30,000 Bosniak civilians, in and around the town of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, committed by units of the Army of the Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić.The ethnic cleansing campaign that took place throughout areas controlled by the Bosnian Serbs targeted Muslim Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats. The ethnic cleansing campaign included unlawful confinement, murder, rape, sexual assault, torture, beating, robbery, and inhumane treatment of civilians; the targeting of political leaders, intellectuals, and professionals; the unlawful deportation and transfer of civilians; the unlawful shelling of civilians; the unlawful appropriation and plunder of real and personal property; the destruction of homes and businesses; and the destruction of places of worship.In the 1990s, several authorities asserted that ethnic cleansing as carried out by elements of the Bosnian Serb army was genocide. These included a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly and three convictions for genocide in German courts (the convictions were based upon a wider interpretation of genocide than that used by international courts). In 2005, the United States Congress passed a resolution declaring that "the Serbian policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing meet the terms defining genocide".However, in line with a majority of legal scholars, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have ruled that, in order for actions to be deemed genocide, there must be physical or biological destruction of a protected group and a specific intent to commit such destruction. To date, only the Srebrenica massacre has been found to be a genocide by the ICTY, a finding upheld by the ICJ. On 24 March 2016, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić and the first president of the Republika Srpska, was found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica, war crimes, and crimes against humanity—10 of the 11 charges in total—and sentenced to 40 years' imprisonment.Ethnic cleansing
Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic, racial and/or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), intimidation, as well as genocide and genocidal rape.
Ethnic cleansing is usually accompanied with efforts to remove physical and cultural evidence of the targeted group in the territory through the destruction of homes, social centers, farms, and infrastructure, and by the desecration of monuments, cemeteries, and places of worship.
Initially used by the perpetrators during the Yugoslav Wars and cited in this context as a euphemism akin to that of Nazi Germany's "Final Solution", by the 1990s, the term gained widespread acceptance due to journalism and the media's heightened use of the term in its generic meaning.Genocide Convention
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1948 as General Assembly Resolution 260. The Convention entered into force on 12 January 1951. It defines genocide in legal terms, and is the culmination of years of campaigning by lawyer Raphael Lemkin. All participating countries are advised to prevent and punish actions of genocide in war and in peacetime. As of December 2017, 149 states have ratified or acceded to the treaty, most recently Benin on 2 November 2017. One state, the Dominican Republic, has signed but not ratified the treaty.Genocides in history
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group. The term was coined in 1944 by Raphael Lemkin. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) of 1948 as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the groups conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."The preamble to the CPPCG states that "genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world" and that "at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity."Determining what historical events constitute a genocide and which are merely criminal or inhuman behavior is not a clear-cut matter. In nearly every case where accusations of genocide have circulated, partisans of various sides have fiercely disputed the details and interpretation of the event, often to the point of depicting wildly different versions of the facts.Greek genocide
The Greek genocide, including the Pontic genocide, was the systematic killing of the Christian Ottoman Greek population carried out in Anatolia during World War I and its aftermath (1914–1922) on the basis of their religion and ethnicity. It was instigated by the government of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish national movement against the indigenous Greek population of the Empire and it included massacres, forced deportations involving death marches, summary expulsions, arbitrary execution, and the destruction of Eastern Orthodox cultural, historical, and religious monuments. According to various sources, several hundred thousand Ottoman Greeks died during this period. Most of the refugees and survivors fled to Greece (adding over a quarter to the prior population of Greece). Some, especially those in Eastern provinces, took refuge in the neighbouring Russian Empire.
By late 1922 most of the Greeks of Asia Minor had either fled or had been killed. Those remaining were transferred to Greece under the terms of the later 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey, which formalized the exodus and barred the return of the refugees. Other ethnic groups were similarly attacked by the Ottoman Empire during this period, including Assyrians and Armenians, and some scholars and organizations have recognized these events as part of the same genocidal policy.The Allies of World War I condemned the Ottoman government-sponsored massacres as crimes against humanity. More recently, the International Association of Genocide Scholars passed a resolution in 2007 recognising the Ottoman campaign against Christian minorities of the Empire, including the Greeks, as genocide. Some other organisations have also passed resolutions recognising the Ottoman campaign against these Christian minorities, as genocide, as have the parliaments of Greece, Cyprus, Sweden, Armenia, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic.Holodomor
The Holodomor (Ukrainian: Голодомо́р; derived from морити голодом, "to kill by starvation") was a man-made famine in Soviet Ukraine in 1932 and 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. It is also known as the Terror-Famine and Famine-Genocide in Ukraine, and sometimes referred to as the Great Famine or The Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33. It was part of the wider Soviet famine of 1932–33, which affected the major grain-producing areas of the country. During the Holodomor, millions of inhabitants of Ukraine, the majority of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of Ukraine. Since 2006, the Holodomor has been recognized by Ukraine and 15 other countries as a genocide of the Ukrainian people carried out by the Soviet government.Early estimates of the death toll by scholars and government officials varied greatly. According to higher estimates, up to 12 million ethnic Ukrainians were said to have perished as a result of the famine. A U.N. joint statement signed by 25 countries in 2003 declared that 7–10 million perished. Research has since narrowed the estimates to between 3.3 and 7.5 million. According to the findings of the Court of Appeal of Kiev in 2010, the demographic losses due to the famine amounted to 10 million, with 3.9 million direct famine deaths, and a further 6.1 million birth deficit.Some scholars believe that the famine was planned by Joseph Stalin to eliminate a Ukrainian independence movement. Using Holodomor in reference to the famine emphasises its man-made aspects, arguing that actions such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs, and restriction of population movement confer intent, defining the famine as genocide; the loss of life has been compared to that of the Holocaust. The causes are still a subject of academic debate, and some historians dispute its characterization as a genocide.Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law on May 28, 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. The law authorized the president to negotiate with southern Native American tribes for their removal to federal territory west of the Mississippi River in exchange for white settlement of their ancestral lands. The act has been referred to as a unitary act of systematic genocide, because it completely discriminated against an ethnic group, to the point of certain death of vast numbers of its population. The Act was signed by Jackson and it was strongly enforced under his administration and that of Martin Van Buren, which extended until 1841.The Act was strongly supported by southern and northeast populations, with much resistance, however from native tribes and the Whig Party. The Cherokee worked together to stop this relocation, but were unsuccessful; they were eventually forcibly removed by the United States government in a march to the west that later became known as the Trail of Tears.Khmer Rouge Killing Fields
The Cambodian Killing Fields (Khmer: វាលពិឃាត, Khmer pronunciation: [ʋiəl pikʰiət]) are a number of sites in Cambodia where collectively more than a million people were killed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime, during its rule of the country from 1975 to 1979, immediately after the end of the Cambodian Civil War (1970–1975). The mass killings are widely regarded as part of a broad state-sponsored genocide (the Cambodian genocide).
Analysis of 20,000 mass grave sites by the DC-Cam Mapping Program and Yale University indicate at least 1,386,734 victims of execution. Estimates of the total number of deaths resulting from Khmer Rouge policies, including disease and starvation, range from 1.7 to 2.5 million out of a 1975 population of roughly 8 million. In 1979, Vietnam invaded Democratic Kampuchea and toppled the Khmer Rouge regime; viewed as ending the genocide.
The Cambodian journalist Dith Pran coined the term "killing fields" after his escape from the regime.The Khmer Rouge regime arrested and eventually executed almost everyone suspected of connections with the former government or with foreign governments, as well as professionals and intellectuals. Ethnic Vietnamese, ethnic Thai, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Cham, Cambodian Christians, and the Buddhist monkhood were the demographic targets of persecution. As a result, Pol Pot has been described as "a genocidal tyrant." Martin Shaw described the Cambodian genocide as "the purest genocide of the Cold War era."Ben Kiernan estimates that about 1.7 million people were killed. Researcher Craig Etcheson of the Documentation Center of Cambodia suggests that the death toll was between 2 and 2.5 million, with a "most likely" figure of 2.2 million. After 5 years of researching some 20,000 grave sites, he concludes that, "these mass graves contain the remains of 1,386,734 victims of execution." A UN investigation reported 2–3 million dead, while UNICEF estimated 3 million had been killed. Demographic analysis by Patrick Heuveline suggests that between 1.17 and 3.42 million Cambodians were killed, while Marek Sliwinski suggests that 1.8 million is a conservative figure. Even the Khmer Rouge acknowledged that 2 million had been killed—though they attributed those deaths to a subsequent Vietnamese invasion. By late 1979, UN and Red Cross officials were warning that another 2.25 million Cambodians faced death by starvation due to "the near destruction of Cambodian society under the regime of ousted Prime Minister Pol Pot", who were saved by international aid after the Vietnamese invasion.List of genocides by death toll
This list of genocides by death toll includes death toll estimates of all deaths that are either directly or indirectly caused by genocide. It does not include non strictly-genocidal mass killing (variously called mass murder, crimes against humanity, politicide, policide, classicide, war crimes) such as the Thirty Years War (7.5 million deaths), Japanese war crimes (3 to 14 million deaths), the Red Terror (100,000 to 1.3 million deaths), the Atrocities in the Congo Free State (1 to 15 million deaths), the Great Purge (0.6 to 1.75 million death), or the Great Leap Forward (15 to 55 million deaths).
The United Nations Genocide Convention defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group". Various other definitions can be found in scholarly literature and national law of different countries.Rwanda
Rwanda ( (listen); Kinyarwanda: U Rwanda [u.ɾɡwaː.nda] (listen)), officially the Republic of Rwanda (Kinyarwanda: Repubulika y'u Rwanda; Swahili: Jamhuri ya Rwanda; French: République du Rwanda), is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated; its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country. The climate is temperate to subtropical, with two rainy seasons and two dry seasons each year.
The population is young and predominantly rural, with a density among the highest in Africa. Rwandans are drawn from just one cultural and linguistic group, the Banyarwanda, although within this group there are three subgroups: the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. The Twa are a forest-dwelling pygmy people descended from Rwanda's earliest inhabitants. Scholars disagree on the origins of and differences between the Hutu and Tutsi; some believe differences are derived from former social castes within a single people, while others believe the Hutu and Tutsi arrived in the country separately, and from different locations. Christianity is the largest religion in the country; the principal language is Kinyarwanda, spoken by most Rwandans, with English and French serving as additional official languages. The sovereign state of Rwanda has a presidential system of government. The president is Paul Kagame of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), who took office in 2000. Rwanda today has low corruption compared with neighbouring countries, although human rights organisations report suppression of opposition groups, intimidation and restrictions on freedom of speech. The country has been governed by a strict administrative hierarchy since precolonial times; there are five provinces delineated by borders drawn in 2006. Rwanda is one of only two countries with a female majority in the national parliament.
Hunter gatherers settled the territory in the stone and iron ages, followed later by Bantu peoples. The population coalesced first into clans and then into kingdoms. The Kingdom of Rwanda dominated from the mid-eighteenth century, with the Tutsi kings conquering others militarily, centralising power and later enacting anti-Hutu policies. Germany colonised Rwanda in 1884 as part of German East Africa, followed by Belgium, which invaded in 1916 during World War I. Both European nations ruled through the kings and perpetuated a pro-Tutsi policy. The Hutu population revolted in 1959. They massacred numerous Tutsi and ultimately established an independent, Hutu-dominated state in 1962. A 1973 military coup saw a change of leadership, but pro-Hutu policy remained. The Tutsi-led Rwandan Patriotic Front launched a civil war in 1990. The presidents of Rwanda and Burundi, both Hutus, died together when their aeroplane was shot down in April 1994. Social tensions erupted in the 1994 genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million Tutsi and moderate Hutu. The RPF ended the genocide with a military victory.
Rwanda's economy suffered heavily in wake of the 1994 genocide, but has since strengthened. The economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture. Coffee and tea are the major cash crops for export. Tourism is a fast-growing sector and is now the country's leading foreign exchange earner. Rwanda is one of only two countries in which mountain gorillas can be visited safely, and visitors pay high prices for gorilla tracking permits. Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan culture, particularly drums and the highly choreographed intore dance. Traditional arts and crafts are produced throughout the country, including imigongo, a unique cow dung art.Rwandan genocide
The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda during the Rwandan Civil War, which had started in 1990. It was directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the 100-day period from 7 April to mid-July 1994. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed, constituting an estimated 70% of the Tutsi population. Additionally, 30% of the Pygmy Batwa were killed. The genocide and widespread slaughter of Rwandans ended after the Tutsi-backed and heavily armed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), led by Paul Kagame, took control of the capital and the country. An estimated 2,000,000 Rwandans, mostly Hutu, were displaced and became refugees.The genocide was organized by members of the core Hutu political elite, many of whom occupied positions at top levels of the national government. Perpetrators came from the Rwandan army, the Gendarmerie, and government-backed militias including the Interahamwe and Impuzamugambi.
The genocide took place in the context of the Rwandan Civil War, a conflict beginning in 1990 between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The latter was made up largely of Tutsi refugees whose families had fled to Uganda after the 1959 Hutu revolt against colonial rule. Waves of Hutu violence against the RPF and Tutsi followed Rwandan independence in 1962. International pressure on the Hutu government of Juvénal Habyarimana resulted in a ceasefire in the civil war in 1993, with a road-map to implement the Arusha Accords. This was intended to create a power-sharing government with the RPF. Numerous conservative Hutu, including members of the Akazu, opposed the Accords, believing they were a concession to enemy demands.
The RPF military campaign had resulted in some intensified support for the so-called "Hutu Power" ideology, which portrayed the RPF as an alien force. In radio programs and other news, the Tutsis were portrayed as non-Christian, intent on reinstating the Tutsi monarchy and enslaving the Hutus. Many Hutu reacted to this prospect with extreme opposition.
On 6 April 1994, an aeroplane carrying Habyarimana and Burundian President Cyprien Ntaryamira was shot down on its descent into Kigali. At the time, the plane was in the airspace above Habyarimana's house. The assassination of Habyarimana ended the peace accords.
Genocidal killings began the following day. Soldiers, police, and militia quickly executed key Tutsi and moderate Hutu military and political leaders who could have assumed control in the ensuing power vacuum. Checkpoints and barricades were erected to screen all holders of the national ID card of Rwanda (it contained ethnic classifications; the Belgian colonial government had introduced use of these classifications and IDs in 1933). This enabled government forces to systematically identify and kill Tutsi.
They also recruited and pressured Hutu civilians to arm themselves with machetes, clubs, blunt objects, and other weapons and encouraged them to rape, maim, and kill their Tutsi neighbors and to destroy or steal their property. The RPF restarted its offensive soon after Habyarimana's assassination. It rapidly seized control of the northern part of the country and captured Kigali about 100 days later in mid-July, bringing an end to the genocide. During these events and in the aftermath, the United Nations (UN) and countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Belgium were criticized for their inaction and failure to strengthen the force and mandate of the UN Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR) peacekeepers. In December 2017, media reported revelations that the government of France had allegedly supported the Hutu government after the genocide had begun.The genocide had lasting and profound effects on Rwanda and neighboring countries. The pervasive use of rape as a weapon of war caused a spike in HIV infection, including babies born to mothers infected during rapes. Due to the wholesale slaughter of both men and women, many households were headed by widows or totally orphaned children. The destruction of infrastructure and the severe depopulation of the country crippled the economy, challenging the nascent government to achieve rapid economic growth and stabilization. The RPF military victory and installation of an RPF-dominated government prompted many Hutu to flee to neighboring countries.
Hutu refugees particularly entered the eastern portion of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or DRC). Hutu genocidaires began to regroup in refugee camps along the border with Rwanda. Declaring a need to avert further genocide, the RPF-led government led military incursions into Zaire, resulting in the First (1996–97) and Second (1998–2003) Congo Wars. Armed struggles between the Rwandan government and their opponents in the DRC have continued through battles of proxy militias in the Goma region, including the M23 rebellion (2012–2013). Large Rwandan Hutu and Tutsi populations continue to live as refugees throughout the region.
Today, Rwanda has two public holidays mourning the genocide. The national mourning period begins with Kwibuka (Remembrance), the national commemoration, on 7 April and concludes with Liberation Day on 4 July. The week following 7 April is an official week of mourning, known as Icyunamo. As a result of the genocide, nations collaborated to establish the International Criminal Court in order to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.Srebrenica massacre
The Srebrenica massacre, also known as the Srebrenica genocide (Bosnian: Masakr u Srebrenici; Genocid u Srebrenici), was the July 1995 massacre of more than 8,000 Bosniaks, mainly men and boys, in and around the town of Srebrenica during the Bosnian War.
The killings were perpetrated by units of the Bosnian Serb Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of Ratko Mladić. The Scorpions, a paramilitary unit from Serbia, who had been part of the Serbian Interior Ministry until 1991, also participated in the massacre. In April 1993 the United Nations (UN) had declared the besieged enclave of Srebrenica—in the Drina Valley of northeastern Bosnia—a "safe area" under UN protection. However, the UN failed to both demilitarise the Army of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (ARBiH) within Srebrenica and force the withdrawal of the VRS surrounding Srebrenica. UNPROFOR's 370 Dutchbat soldiers in Srebrenica did not prevent the town's capture by the VRS—nor the subsequent massacre.In 2004, in a unanimous ruling on the case of Prosecutor v. Krstić, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), located in The Hague, ruled that the massacre of the enclave's male inhabitants constituted genocide, a crime under international law. The ruling was also upheld by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2007. The forcible transfer and abuse, of between 25,000 and 30,000 Bosniak women, children and elderly which accompanied the massacre was found to constitute genocide, when accompanied with the killings and separation of the men.In 2005, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations described the mass murder as the worst crime on European soil since the Second World War, and in a message to the tenth anniversary commemoration of the massacre, he wrote that, while blame lay "first and foremost with those who planned and carried out the massacre and those who assisted and harboured them", the UN had "made serious errors of judgement, rooted in a philosophy of impartiality", describing Srebrenica as a tragedy that would haunt the history of the UN forever.In 2006, in the Bosnian Genocide case held before the International Court of Justice, Serbia and Montenegro was cleared of direct responsibility for, or complicity in, the massacre, but was found responsible for not doing enough to prevent the genocide and not prosecuting those responsible, in breach of the Genocide Convention. The Preliminary List of People Missing or Killed in Srebrenica compiled by the Bosnian Federal Commission of Missing Persons contains 8,373 names. As of July 2012, 6,838 genocide victims have been identified through DNA analysis of body parts recovered from mass graves; as of July 2013, 6,066 victims have been buried at the Memorial Centre of Potočari.In April 2013, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić officially apologised for the massacre, although he stopped short of calling it genocide. In 2013 and 2014, the Netherlands was found liable in its own supreme court and in the Hague district court of failing in its duty to prevent more than 300 of the deaths.On 8 July 2015, Russia, at the request of the Republika Srpska and Serbia, vetoed a UN resolution condemning the Srebrenica massacre as genocide. Serbia called the resolution "anti-Serb", while European and U.S. governments affirmed that the crimes were genocide. On 9 July 2015, both the European Parliament (EP) and the U.S. Congress adopted resolutions reaffirming the description of the crime as genocide.On 22 November 2017, Ratko Mladić was convicted of various crimes at the United Nations' tribunal, including genocide for his role at Srebrenica. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. The judgement is presently under appeal.Taíno
The Taíno were an indigenous people of the Caribbean. At the time of European contact in the late fifteenth century, they were the principal inhabitants of most of Cuba, Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, The Bahamas and the northern Lesser Antilles. The Taíno were the first New World peoples to be encountered by Christopher Columbus during his 1492 voyage. They spoke the Taíno language, an Arawakan language.The ancestors of the Taíno originated in South America, and the Taíno culture as documented developed in the Caribbean. Taíno groups were in conflict with the Island Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles. At the time of contact, the Taíno were divided into several groups. Western Taíno groups included the Lucayans of the Bahamas, the Ciboney of central Cuba, and the inhabitants of Jamaica. The Classic Taíno lived in Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, while the Eastern Taíno lived in the northern islands of the Lesser Antilles.
At the time of Columbus's arrival in 1492, there were five Taíno chiefdoms in Hispaniola, each led by a principal Cacique (chief), to whom tribute was paid. The Taíno name for Hispaniola was Ayiti ("land of high mountains"), which is the source of the name Haiti. Cuba was divided into 29 chiefdoms, many of which have given their name to modern cities, including Havana, Batabanó, Camagüey, Baracoa, and Bayamo. Taíno communities ranged from small settlements to larger centers of up to 3,000 people. They may have numbered 2 million at the time of contact.The Spanish conquered various Taíno chiefdoms during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. According to The Black Legend, warfare and harsh enslavement by the colonists decimated the population; however, most scholars believe that European diseases caused the majority of deaths. A smallpox epidemic in Hispaniola in 1518–1519 killed almost 90% of the surviving Taíno. The remaining Taíno were intermarried with Europeans and Africans, and were incorporated into the Spanish colonies. The Taíno were considered extinct by the end of the century. However, since about 1840, there have been attempts to create a quasi-indigenous Taíno identity in rural areas of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. This trend accelerated among Puerto Rican communities in the mainland United States in the 1960s. At the 2010 U.S. census, 1,098 people in Puerto Rico identified themselves as "Puerto Rican Indian", 1,410 identified as "Spanish American Indian", and 9,399 identified as "Taíno." In total, 35,856 Puerto Ricans considered themselves Native American.War in Darfur
The War in Darfur, also nicknamed the Land Cruiser War, is a major armed conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan that began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebel groups began fighting the government of Sudan, which they accused of oppressing Darfur's non-Arab population. The government responded to attacks by carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Darfur's non-Arabs. This resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of civilians and the indictment of Sudan's president, Omar al-Bashir, for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.One side of the conflict is mainly composed of the Sudanese military, police and the Janjaweed, a Sudanese militia group whose members are mostly recruited among Arabized indigenous Africans and a small number of Bedouin of the northern Rizeigat; the majority of other Arab groups in Darfur remained uninvolved.
The other side is made up of rebel groups, notably the SLM/A and the JEM, recruited primarily from the non-Arab Muslim Fur, Zaghawa, and Masalit ethnic groups. The African Union and the United Nations also have a joint peacekeeping mission in the region, named UNAMID. Although the Sudanese government publicly denies that it supported the Janjaweed, evidence supports claims that it provided financial assistance and weapons and coordinated joint attacks, many against civilians. Estimates of the number of human casualties range up to several hundred thousand dead, from either combat or starvation and disease. Mass displacements and coercive migrations forced millions into refugee camps or across the border, creating a humanitarian crisis. Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell described the situation as a genocide or acts of genocide.The Sudanese government and the JEM signed a ceasefire agreement in February 2010, with a tentative agreement to pursue peace. The JEM has the most to gain from the talks and could see semi-autonomy much like South Sudan. However, talks were disrupted by accusations that the Sudanese army launched raids and air strikes against a village, violating the Tolu agreement. The JEM, the largest rebel group in Darfur, vowed to boycott negotiations.White genocide conspiracy theory
The white genocide conspiracy theory is a conspiracy theory, generally associated with neo-Nazi, far-right, alt-right, identitarian and white nationalist, supremacist, and white separatist ideologies, which contends that mass immigration, racial integration, miscegenation, low fertility rates, abortion, governmental land-confiscation from whites, organised violence or eliminationism are being promoted in either predominantly white countries, or supposedly white-founded countries. The conspiracy theory contends these actions are to deliberately replace, remove, or liquidate white populations, dismantle white collective power, turn the countries minority-white, and hence cause white people to become extinct through forced assimilation or violent genocide.The conspiracy theory was developed by the white supremacist, neo-Nazi, and convicted felon David Lane around 1995. The phrase "anti-racist is a code word for anti-white", coined by high-profile white nationalist Robert Whitaker, is commonly associated with the topic of white genocide. It has appeared on billboards in the United States near Birmingham, Alabama and Harrison, Arkansas. Similar conspiracy theories were part of the discourse in Nazi Germany, as exemplified in a pamphlet written for the "Research Department for the Jewish question" of Walter Frank's "Reich Institute" with the title "Are the White Nations Dying? The Future of the White and the Colored Nations in the Light of Biological Statistics".The conspiracy theory has been expressed in South Africa and France. It has also been commonly used both interchangeably with, and as a broader and more extreme version of, Renaud Camus's 2012 The Great Replacement conspiracy theory, which focuses on the white Christian population of France. In August 2018, U.S. President Donald Trump was accused of endorsing the conspiracy theory in a foreign policy tweet instructing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to investigate South African "land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers", claiming that the "South African government is now seizing land from white farmers". The often critical narrative derived from farm attacks, and land reform, is an established subset theme of the broader conspiracy theory, portrayed in media as a form of gateway or proxy issue to "white genocide" within the wider context of the Western world. The topic in relation to South Africa and Zimbabwe is also simply used interchangeably with the subject, as well as being used by white nationalists as a parabolic concept, or cautionary tale, to justify policies to retain or increase white majorities in nation-states, or otherwise maintain their vision of white supremacy.
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