The Persecution of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia, also known as the Genocide of the Serbs (Serbian: Геноцид над Србима / Genocid nad Srbima) included the extermination, expulsion and forced religious conversion of hundreds of thousands ethnic Serbs by the genocidal policies of the Ustashe regime in the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) between 1941 and 1945, during World War II. The Ustashe regime systematically murdered approximately 300,000 to 500,000 Serbs out of whom up to 52,000 died at the Jasenovac concentration camp, according to current estimates.
|Persecution of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia|
Genocide of the Serbs
|Part of World War II in Yugoslavia|
Serbs, expelled from their homes in the Independent State of Croatia, march out of town carrying large bundles.
|Location||Independent State of Croatia (Axis-occupied Yugoslavia)|
|Perpetrators||Independent State of Croatia (Ustashe)|
|Motive||Anti-Serb sentiment, Greater Croatia, anti-Yugoslavism, Catholic fanaticism, Croatisation|
Ethnic tensions between Croats and Serbs can be traced back to the Great Schism of 1054. During the time of the Austrian Empire, many Croats came to resent the privileges granted to Serbs living in the Military Frontier of the Habsburg Monarchy. Following the collapse of Austria-Hungary in the final days of World War I, the Croat and Slovene-dominated State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs was established. Having fought on the side of the Central Powers during the war, ethnic Croats and Slovenes — who formed the majority of the state's population — were viewed unfavourably by western nations and as such they failed to gain recognition from the Great Powers. This left them no choice but to join a union largely dominated by ethnic Serbs, which came to be known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Upon its creation, the state was composed of six million Serbs, 3.5 million Croats and 1 million Slovenes. Being the largest ethnic group, the Serbs favoured a centralized state, whereas Croats, Slovenes and Bosnian Muslims did not.
Approved on 28 June 1921 and based on the Serbian constitution of 1903, the so-called Vidovdan Constitution established the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes as a parliamentary monarchy under the Serbian Karađorđević dynasty. Belgrade was chosen as the capital of the new state, assuring Serb and Orthodox Christian political dominance. In 1928, Croatian Peasant Party (HSS) leader Stjepan Radić was assassinated on the floor of the country's parliament by a Montenegrin Serb leader and People's Radical Party (NRS) politician Puniša Račić. The following year King Alexander I proclaimed the 6 January Dictatorship and renamed his country the Kingdom of Yugoslavia to deemphasize its ethnic makeup. Yugoslavia was divided into nine administrative units called banovinas, six of which had ethnic Serb majorities. In 1931, the king issued a decree which allowed the Yugoslav Parliament to reconvene on the condition that only pro-Yugoslav parties were allowed to be represented in it. Marginalized, far-right and far-left movements thrived. The Ustaše, a Croatian fascist party, emerged as the most extreme movement of these. The Ustaše were driven by a deep hatred of Serbs and Serbdom and claimed that "Croats and Serbs were separated by an unbridgable cultural gulf" which prevented them from ever living alongside each other. They organized the so-called Velebit uprising in 1932, assaulting a police station in the village of Brušani in Lika. The police responded harshly to the assault and harassed the local population. In 1934, the Ustaše cooperated with Bulgarian, Hungarian and Italian right-wing extremists to assassinate Alexander while he visited the French city of Marseille. Alexander's cousin, Prince Paul, took the regency until Alexander's son, Peter II, turned eighteen. Ustaše leader Ante Pavelić believed that the assassination would cause Yugoslavia to disintegrate. Instead, countries that had assisted the organization, such as Italy and Hungary, cracked down on its members, arrested them, and destroyed their training camps at Yugoslavia's behest. According to historian Slavko Goldstein, the Ustaše planned to commit a genocide against ethnic Serbs for years prior to the outbreak of World War II. One of Pavelić's main ideologues, Mijo Babić, wrote in 1932:
Croatian opposition to a centralized Yugoslavia continued following Alexander's assassination, culminating with the signing of the Cvetković–Maček Agreement by Croatian politician Vladko Maček and Yugoslav Prime Minister Dragiša Cvetković on 26 August 1939. By signing the agreement, Belgrade sought to accommodate moderate Croats through the creation of a largely autonomous Banovina of Croatia which covered 27 percent of Yugoslavia's territory and included 29 percent of its population. It also ensured that Maček became Yugoslavia's deputy premier. Ultimately, the agreement was not successful—it led to other Yugoslav ethnic groups demanding a status similar to that of Croatia and failed to satisfy right-wing Croats such as those that had joined the Ustaše, who wanted a fully independent Croatian state. The Ustaše were enraged by the very notion of Maček having negotiated with Belgrade, denouncing him as a "sell out". Right-wing Croats quickly orchestrated anti-Serbian incidents across the newly formed Banovina, and in June 1940, a Croatian National-Socialist Party was established in Zagreb. On 25 March 1941, Yugoslavia bowed to German pressure and signed the Tripartite Pact in an effort to avoid war with the Axis powers. Two days later, a group of Serbian nationalist Royal Yugoslav Air Force officers organized a coup d'état to depose Prince Paul and the government of Dragiša Cvetković. Peter was declared to be of age and was elevated to the throne. Upon hearing news of the coup, Adolf Hitler immediately ordered the invasion of Yugoslavia.
In April 1941, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was invaded by the Axis powers, and the puppet state known as the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) was created, ruled by the Ustaše regime. The ideology of the Ustaše movement was a blend of Nazism, Catholicism, and Croatian ultranationalism. The Ustaše supported the creation of a Greater Croatia that would span to the Drina river and the outskirts of Belgrade. The movement emphasized the need for a racially "pure" Croatia and promoted the extermination of Serbs who were viewed as ethinic foreigners, Jews and Gypsies.
A major ideological influence on the Croatian nationalism of the Ustaše was the 19th-century nationalist Ante Starčević. Starčević was an advocate of Croatian unity and independence and was both anti-Habsburg and anti-Serb. He envisioned the creation of a Greater Croatia that would include territories inhabited by Bosniaks, Serbs, and Slovenes, considering Bosniaks and Serbs to be Croats who had been converted to Islam and Eastern Orthodox Christianity and considering the Slovenes to be "mountain Croats".
Starčević argued that the large Serb presence in the territories that were claimed by a Greater Croatia was the result of recent settlement, which had been encouraged by the Habsburg rulers, along with the influx of groups like Vlachs who took up Eastern Orthodox Christianity and identified themselves as Serbs. The Ustaše used Starčević's theories to promote the annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia and they recognized Croatia as having two major ethnocultural components: Catholic Croats and Muslim Croats, because the Ustaše saw the Islam of the Bosnian-Muslims as a religion which "keeps true the blood of Croats." Armed struggle, genocide and terrorism were glorified by the group. Alexander Korb wrote:
After Nazi forces entered into Zagreb on April 10, 1941 Pavelić's closest associate Slavko Kvaternik proclaimed the formation of the Independent State of Croatia (NDH) on a Radio Zagreb broadcast. Meanwhile, Pavelić and several hundred Ustaše volunteers left their camps in Italy and travelled to Zagreb, where Pavelić declared a new government on 16 April 1941. He accorded himself the title of "Poglavnik" (German: Führer, English: Chief leader). The Independent State of Croatia was declared to be on Croatian "ethnic and historical territory".
This country can only be a Croatian country, and there is no method we would hesitate to use in order to make it truly Croatian and cleanse it of Serbs, who have for centuries endangered us and who will endanger us again if they are given the opportunity.— Milovan Žanić, the minister of the NDH Legislative council, on 2 May 1941, 
The NDH combined most of modern Croatia, all of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina and parts of modern Serbia into an "Italian-German quasi-protectorate". NDH authorities, led by the Ustaše militia, then implemented genocidal policies against the Serb, Jewish and Romani populations living in the new state. The Ustashe cruelty and sadism shocked even Nazi commanders.
Viktor Gutić made several speeches in early summer 1941, calling Serbs "former enemies" and "unwanted elements" to be cleansed and destroyed, and also threatened Croats who did not support their cause.
In 1941 the usage of the Cyrillic script was banned, and in June 1941 began the elimination of "Eastern" (Serbian) words from the Croatian language, as well as the shutting down of Serbian schools. Ante Pavelić ordered, through the "Croatian state office for language", the creation of new words from old roots (some which are used today), and purged many Serbian words.
In the summer of 1941, Ustashe militias and death squads burnt villages and killed thousands of civilian Serbs in the country-side in sadistic ways with various weapons and tools. Men, women, children were hacked to death, thrown alive into pits and down ravines, or set on fire in churches. Some Serb villages near Srebrenica and Ozren were wholly massacred, while children were found impaled by stakes in villages between Vlasenica and Kladanj.
A large number of massacres were committed by the Ustashe. Some of the more notable ones were:
The Ustashe set up temporary concentration camps in the spring of 1941 and laid the groundwork for a network of permanent camps in autumn. The creation of concentration camps and extermination campaign of Serbs had been planned by the Ustashe leadership long before 1941. In Ustashe state exhibits in Zagreb, the camps were portrayed as productive and "peaceful work camps", with photographs of smiling inmates. Croatia was the only Axis satellite to have erected camps specifically for children.
Serbs, Jews and Romani were arrested and sent to concentration camps such as Jasenovac, Stara Gradiška, Gospić and Jadovno. There were 22–26 camps in NDH in total. Special camps for children were those at Sisak, Gornja Rijeka and Jastrebarsko, while Stara Gradiška held thousands of children and women.
The largest and most notorious camp was the Jasenovac-Stara Gradiška complex, the largest extermination camp in the Balkans. An estimated 100,000 inmates perished there, most Serbs. Vjekoslav "Maks" Luburić, the commander-in-chief of all the Croatian camps, announced the great "efficiency" of the Jasenovac camp at a ceremony on 9 October 1942, and also boasted: "We have slaughtered here at Jasenovac more people than the Ottoman Empire was able to do during its occupation of Europe."
Bounded by rivers and two barbed-wire fences making escape unlikely, the Jasenovac camp was divided into five camps, the first two closed in December 1941, while the rest were active until the end of the war. Stara Gradiška (Jasenovac V) held women and children. The Ciglana (brickyards, Jasenovac III) camp, the main killing ground and essentially a death camp, had 88% mortality rate, higher than Auschwitz's 84.6%. A former brickyard, a furnace was engineered into a crematorium, with witness testimony of some, including children, being burnt alive and stench of human flesh spreading in the camp. Luburić had a gas chamber built at Jasenovac V, where a considerable number of inmates were killed during a three-month experiment with sulfur dioxide and Zyklon B, but this method was abandoned due to poor construction. Still, that method was unnecessary, as most inmates perished from starvation, disease (especially typhus), assaults with mallets, maces, axes, poison and knives. The srbosjek ("Serb-cutter") was a glove with an attached curved blade designed to cut throats. Large groups of people were regularly executed upon arrival outside camps and thrown into the river. Unlike German-run camps, Jasenovac specialized in brutal one-on-one violence, such as guards attacking barracks with weapons and throwing the bodies in the trenches. The infamous camp commander Filipović, dubbed fra Sotona ("brother Satan") and the "personification of evil", on one occasion drowned Serb women and children by flooding a cellar. Filipović and other camp commanders (such as Dinko Šakić and his wife Nada Šakić, the sister of Maks Luburić), used ingenious torture. There were throat-cutting contests of Serbs, in which prison guards made bets among themselves as to who could slaughter the most inmates. It was reported that guard and former Franciscan priest Petar Brzica won a contest on 29 August 1942 after cutting the throats of 1,360 inmates. Inmates were tied and hit over the head with mallets and half-alive hung in groups by the Granik ramp crane, their intestines and necks slashed, then dropped into the river. When the Partisans and Allies closed in at the end of the war, the Ustashe began mass liquidations at Jasenovac, marching women and children to death, and shooting most of the remaining male inmates, then torched buildings and documents before fleeing.
The Ustashe viewed religion and nationality as closely linked; while Roman Catholicism and Islam (Bosnian Muslims were viewed as Croats) were recognized as Croatian national religions, Eastern Orthodoxy was deemed inherently incompatible with the Croatian state project. They saw Orthodoxy as hostile because it was identified as Serb. On 3 May 1941 a law was passed on religious conversions, pressuring Serbs to convert to Catholicism and thereby adopt Croat identity. This was made on the eve of Pavelić's meeting with Pope Pious XII in Rome. The Catholic Church in Croatia, headed by archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, greeted it and adopted it into the Church internal law. The term "Serbian Orthodox" was banned in mid-May as uncompatible with state order, and substituted it with "Greek-Eastern faith". By the end of September 1941, about half of the Serbian Orthodox clergy, 335 priests, had been expelled.
Ustashe propaganda legitimized persecution partly based on historical Catholic–Orthodox struggle for domination in Europe and Catholic intolerance towards the "schismatics". Following Serb insurgency provoked by Ustashe terror, killing and deportation campaign, the State Directorate for Regeneration launched a program in the autumn of 1941 aimed at mass forced conversion of Serbs. Already in the summer, the Ustashe had closed or destroyed most of the Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries and deported, imprisoned or murdered Orthodox priests and bishops. The conversions were meant to Croatianize and permanently destroy the Serbian Orthodox Church. The Vatican was not opposed to the forced conversions. On 6 February 1942 Pope Pious XII privately received 206 Ustashes in uniforms and blessed them, giving symbolical support to their acts. On 8 February 1942 envoy to the Holy See Rusinović said that 'the Holy See joyed' over forced conversions. Cardinal Luigi Maglione, the Holy See secretary, encouraged the Croatian bishops in a 21 February 1942 letter to speed up the conversions, and also stressed that the "Orthodox term" be replaced with terms "apostates or schismatics". Many fanatic Catholic priests joined the Ustashe, blessed and supported their work, and participated in killings and conversions.
In 1941–42, some 200,000 or 240,000–250,000 Serbs were converted to Roman Catholicism, although most temporarily. Converts would sometimes be killed anyway, often in the same churches they were rebaptized. 85% of the Serbian Orthodox clergy was killed or expelled. In Lika, Kordun and Banija alone, 172 Serbian Orthodox churches were closed, destroyed, or plundered. On 2 July 1942, the Croatian Orthodox Church was founded in order to replace the institutions of the Serbian Orthodox Church, after the matter of forced conversion had become extremely controversial.
Many Catholic bishops and priests in Croatia openly supported the Ustashe actions, and also, there were no condemnations of the crimes, public or private, by the Catholic hierarchy. The Croatian Catholic Church and Vatican in fact viewed policies against Serbs as advantegous to Roman Catholicism. Nevertheless, historian Tomasevich praised some of the public statements and deeds made by archbishop Aloysius Stepinac, but noted that there were shortcomings in statements and actions regarding genocidal actions against the Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church. In his diary, Stepinac said that "Serbs and Croats are of two different worlds, north and south pole, which will never unite as long as one of them is alive", along with other similar views. Croatia's rehabilitation of Stepinac in 2016 met negative reaction in Serbia and Republika Srpska.
An estimated 120,000 Serbs were deported from NDH to German-occupied Serbia, and 300,000 fled by 1943. The general plan was to have prominent people deported first, so their property could be nationalized and the remaining Serbs could then be more easily manipulated. By the end of September 1941, about half of the Serbian Orthodox clergy, 335 priests, had been expelled.
During the war and during Tito's Yugoslavia, various numbers were given for overall war casualties.[a] Estimations by Holocaust memorial centers also vary.[b] As concluded by historian Rory Yeomans, the most conservative estimates put the lower number of 300,000 and possibly as many as 500,000 Serbs killed by Ustashe death squads, executed, or perished at concentration camps. Tomasevich said that the exact number of victims in Yugoslavia is impossible to determine. Sabrina P. Ramet estimated at least 300,000 Serbs "massacred by the Ustaše". Demographer Bogoljub Kočović, author of the most serious study of World War II victims in Yugoslavia, estimated 370–410,000 Serbs who died in NDH. The number of victims at the Jasenovac concentration camp remains a matter of debate, but current estimates put the number at around 100,000, about half of which were Serbs.
In Serbia and in the eyes of Serbs, the Ustashe atrocities constituted a genocide. Some Western and Jewish authors acknowledge it as a genocide, or, if not calling it explicitly "genocide", call Ustashe policies and acts "genocidal". R. Lemkin also called Hungarian and Bulgarian policies against Serbs genocidal.
Catholic extremism was at the heart of Ustaše policy and this meant that many Serbs in the NDH were given the option of either converting to Catholicism or face deportation to a concentration camp. Serbs who refused to renounce the Orthodox Christian faith ultimately faced death in concentration camps across the NDH, especially at Jasenovac concentration camp. In the post-war era, the Serbian Orthodox Church considered that the Serbian victims of this genocide were martys. As a result, the Serbian Orthodox Church celebrates Holy New Martys of Jasenovac Concentration Camp on September 13.
After World War II, most of the remaining Ustashe went underground or fled to countries such as Australia, Canada, the United States and Germany, with the assistance of Roman Catholic clerics and grassroots supporters.
The Yugoslav communist government did not use the Jasenovac camp as was done with other European concentration camps, most likely due to Serb-Croat relations. Tito's government attempted to let the wounds heal and forge "brotherhood and unity" in the peoples. Tito himself was invited to, and passed Jasenovac several times, but never visited the site.
With the Partisan liberation of Yugoslavia, many Ustashe leaders fled and took refuge at the college of San Girolamo degli Illirici near the Vatican. Catholic priest and Ustashe Krunoslav Draganović directed the fugitives from San Girolamo. The US State Department and Counter-Intelligence Corps helped war criminals to escape, and assisted Draganović (who later worked for the American intelligence) in sending Ustashe abroad. Many of those responsible for mass killings in NDH took refuge in South America, Portugal, Spain and the United States. Luburić was assassinated in Spain in 1969 by an UDBA agent; Artuković lived in Ireland and California until extradited in 1986 and died of natural causes in prison; Dinko Šakić and his wife Nada lived in Argentina until extradited in 1998, Dinko dying in prison and his wife released. Draganović also arranged Gestapo functionary Klaus Barbie's flight.
In the Croat diaspora, the Ustashe became heroes. Ustashe émigré terrorist groups in the diaspora (such as Croatian Revolutionary Brotherhood and Croatian National Resistance) carried out assassinations and bombings, and also plane hijackings, throughout the Yugoslav period.
Some Croats, including politicians, have attempted to minimise the magnitude of the genocide perpetrated against Serbs in the World War II puppet state of Germany, the Independent State of Croatia.
By 1989, the future President of Croatia, Franjo Tuđman (who had been a Partisan during World War II), had embraced Croatian nationalism, and published Horrors of War: Historical Reality and Philosophy, in which he questioned the official number of victims killed by the Ustaše during the Second World War. In his book, Tuđman claimed that fewer than thirty-thousand people died at Jasenovac. Tuđman also estimated that a total of 900,000 Jews had perished in the Holocaust. Tuđman's views and his government's toleration of Ustaša symbols frequently strained relations with Israel. Nonetheless, in his book, he did confirm that genocide happened:
It is a historical fact that the Ustasha regime of NDH, in its implementation of the plan to reduce the 'hostile Serb Orthodox people in Croatian lands', committed a large genocidal crime over the Serbs, and proportionately even higher over the Roma and Jews, in the implementation of Nazi racial politics.
An example of ultranationalist, anti-Serb sentiment in contemporary Croatian public life is Thompson, a Croatian rock band that has been protested against on numerous occasions for having sung Ustaše songs, most notably Jasenovac i Gradiška Stara. People publicly displaying Ustaše affiliation at Thompson concerts in Croatia and elsewhere is a frequent occurrence, leading to complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In 2006, a video was leaked showing Croatian President Stipe Mesić giving a speech in Australia in the early 1990s, in which he said that the Croats had "won a great victory on April 10th" (the date of the formation of the Independent State of Croatia in 1941), and that Croatia needed to apologize to no one for Jasenovac. Later on, Mesić apologized for his indecent statement and stated that he undoubtedly considered anti-fascism to be the basis of modern-day Croatia, appreciated Yugoslav Partisans and considered it necessary to "reaffirm anti-fascism as a human and civilization commitment in the function of the unavoidable condition for the building of a democratic Croatia, a country of equal citizens."
On 17 April 2011, in a commemoration ceremony, Croatian President Ivo Josipović warned that there were "attempts to drastically reduce or decrease the number of Jasenovac victims", adding, "faced with the devastating truth here that certain members of the Croatian people were capable of committing the cruelest of crimes, I want to say that all of us are responsible for the things that we do." At the same ceremony, then Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor said, "there is no excuse for the crimes and therefore the Croatian government decisively rejects and condemns every attempt at historical revisionism and rehabilitation of the fascist ideology, every form of totalitarianism, extremism and radicalism... Pavelić's regime was a regime of evil, hatred and intolerance, in which people were abused and killed because of their race, religion, nationality, their political beliefs and because they were the others and were different."
In 2008, in Melbourne, Australia, a Croat restaurant held a celebration to honour Ustaše leader Ante Pavelić. The event was an "outrageous affront both to his victims and to any persons of morality and conscience who oppose racism and genocide", Dr. Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, stated. According to local press reports, a large photograph of Pavelić was hung in the restaurant, T-shirts with his picture and that of two other commanders in the 1941–45 Ustaše government were offered for sale at the bar, and the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia was celebrated. Zuroff noted this was not the first time that Croatian émigrés in Australia had openly defended Croat Nazi war criminals.
It is high time that the authorities in Australia find a way to take the necessary measures to stop such celebrations, which clearly constitute racist, ethnic, and anti-Semitic incitement against Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies.
The Ustaše had sent large amounts of gold that it had plundered from Serbian and Jewish property owners during World War II into Swiss bank accounts. Of a total of 350 million Swiss Francs, about 150 million was seized by British troops; however, the remaining 200 million (ca. 47 million dollars) reached the Vatican. In October 1946, the American intelligence agency SSU alleged that these funds are still held in the Vatican Bank. This matter is the crux of a recent class action suit against the Vatican Bank and other defendants.
Israeli President Moshe Katsav visited Jasenovac in 2003. His successor, Shimon Peres, paid homage to the camp's victims when he visited Jasenovac on 25 July 2010 and laid a wreath at the memorial. Peres dubbed the Ustaše's crimes to be a "demonstration of sheer sadism".
The Jasenovac Memorial Museum reopened in November 2006 with a new exhibition designed by a Croatian architect, Helena Paver Njirić, and an Educational Center, designed by the firm Produkcija. The Memorial Museum features an interior of rubber-clad steel modules, video and projection screens, and glass cases displaying artifacts from the camp. Above the exhibition space, which is quite dark, is a field of glass panels inscribed with the names of the victims.
The New York City Parks Department, the Holocaust Park Committee and the Jasenovac Research Institute, with the help of then-Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY), established a public monument to the victims of Jasenovac in April 2005 (the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the camps.) The dedication ceremony was attended by ten Yugoslavian Holocaust survivors, as well as diplomats from Serbia, Bosnia and Israel. It remains the only public monument to Jasenovac victims outside the Balkans.
To commemorate the victims of the Kragujevac massacre, the whole of Šumarice, where the killings took place, was turned into a memorial park. There are several monuments there: the monument to the murdered schoolchildren and their teachers, the "Broken Wing" monument, the monument of pain and defiance and the monument "One Hundred for One", the monument of resistance and freedom. Serbian poet Desanka Maksimović wrote a poem about the massacre titled Krvava Bajka (A Bloody Fairy Tale).
The Independent State of Croatia willingly cooperated with the Nazi “Final Solution” against Jews and Gypsies, but went beyond it, launching a campaign of genocide against Serbs in “greater Croatia.” The Ustasha, like the Nazis whom they emulated, established concentration camps and death camps.
Povijesna je činjenica da je ustaški režim NDH, u provedbi svojih planova o smanjenju ‘neprijateljskog srpsko-pravoslavnog pučanstva u hrvatskim zemljama’ izvršio velik genocidni zločin nad Srbima, a razmjerno još veći nad Romima i Židovima, u provedbi nacističke rasne politike.
Bosnian genocide denial is an act of denying or the assertion that the systemic Bosnian genocide against Bosniak Muslim population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as planned and perpetrated by Serb academic, political and military establishment, did not occur, or at least didn't occur in the manner or to the extent established by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) through its proceedings and judgments, and described by subsequent comprehensive scholarship.These two aforementioned courts have ruled differently only regarding direct responsibility in perpetrating acts of genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The ICJ, in a proceeding brought by Bosnia and Herzegovina against Serbia and Montenegro, has made controversial ruling only to an extent in which Serbia was not directly responsible for perpetration of the crime of genocide, but was responsible under customary international law through violations of their obligations for prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.
Nevertheless, in its 2007 judgment the ICJ adopted the ICTY’s conclusion from Krstić conviction and concluded that: “the acts committed at Srebrenica… were committed with the specific intent to destroy in part the group of the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina as such; and accordingly that these were acts of genocide, committed by members of the VRS in and around Srebrenica from about 13 July 1995.”Burundian genocides
Since Burundi's independence in 1962, there have been two events called genocides in the country. The 1972 mass killings of Hutus by the Tutsi-dominated army, and the 1993 mass killings of Tutsis by the majority-Hutu populace are both described as genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council in 1996.Cambodian genocide denial
Cambodian genocide denial was the belief expressed by many Western academics that claims of atrocities by the Khmer Rouge government (1975-1979) in Cambodia were much exaggerated. Many scholars of Cambodia and intellectuals, opposed to the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, denied or minimized the human rights abuses of the Khmer Rouge, characterizing contrary reports as "tales told by refugees" and U.S. propaganda. They viewed the assumption of power by the communist Khmer Rouge as a positive development for the people of Cambodia who had been severely impacted by the Vietnam War and the Cambodian Civil War.
On the other side of the argument, anti-Communists in the United States and elsewhere saw in the rule of the Khmer Rouge vindication of their belief that the victory of communist governments in Southeast Asia would lead to a "bloodbath".
Scholar Donald W. Beachler, writing of the controversy about the range and extent of Khmer Rouge atrocities, concluded that "much of the posturing by academics, publicists, and politicians seems to have been motivated largely by political purposes" rather than concern for the Cambodian people.With conclusive evidence (including the discovery of over 20,000 mass graves) of a large number of deaths—estimated at between one and three million—of Cambodians caused by the Khmer Rouge, denials, deniers, and apologists largely disappeared, although disagreements concerning the actual number of Khmer Rouge victims have continued.
Against the background of the Vietnamese invasion and occupation of Cambodia (1978-1979), the United States practiced what the Washington Post called "hold-your-nose diplomacy", recognizing the Khmer Rouge as the legitimate government of Cambodia while abhoring the "record of genocide" of the Khmer Rouge. The U.S. policy was in solidarity with China, Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries who opposed the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia.Cultural genocide
Cultural genocide or cultural cleansing is a concept that lawyer Raphael Lemkin distinguished in 1944 as a component of genocide. The term was considered in the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and juxtaposed next to the term "ethnocide", but it was removed in the final document, and simply replaced with "genocide". The precise definition of "cultural genocide" remains unclear. Some ethnologists, such as Robert Jaulin, use the term "ethnocide" as a substitute for "cultural genocide", although this usage has been criticized as engendering a risk of confusing ethnicity with culture.Democide
Democide is a term proposed by R. J. Rummel since at least 1994 who defined it as "the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command". According to him, this definition covers a wide range of deaths, including forced labor and concentration camp victims; killings by "unofficial" private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to the governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect, such as in deliberate famines, as well as killings by de facto governments, i.e. civil war killings. This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government.Rummel created the term as an extended concept to include forms of government murder not covered by the term genocide. According to Rummel, democide surpassed war as the leading cause of non-natural death in the 20th century.Dudik Memorial Park
Dudik Memorial Park (Croatian: Spomen-park Dudik, Serbian: Спомен-парк Дудик) is a war memorial park located in Vukovar in eastern Croatia. The site is dedicated to 455 individuals who were executed by the authorities of the Independent State of Croatia during the World War II in Yugoslavia. In 1945 mortal remains of 384 victims were exhumed and placed in the common ossuary dedicated to the victims of Dudik, fallen soldiers of the 5th Vojvodina Brigade of the 36th Vojvodina Division and the Red Army soldiers who fought within the Vukovar area. Most of the victims at the Dudik were Yugoslav Partisan and ethnic Serbs from modern day Croatia and from Inđija, Stara Pazova, Ruma, Šid, Sremska Mitrovica and Irig in Serbia who were target of persecution of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia. In 1973 Park was classified as a monument of cultural importance. Monument at the Dudik Memorial, built from 1978 to 1980, is designed by Bogdan Bogdanović. Dudik Memorial Park was devastated during the Croatian War of Independence, and in the post was years was a mined area. Prior to its reconstruction Vukovar town authorities used it as football field causing criticism among antifascist and Serb minority organizations. Monuments and park reconstruction began in 2015 and was completed in 2016.Ethnocide
Ethnocide refers to extermination of national culture as a genocide component.Reviewing the legal and academic history of usage of the terms genocide and ethnocide, Bartolomé Clavero differentiates between them in that "Genocide kills people while ethnocide kills social cultures through the killing of individual souls". In addition, "since cultural genocide can only be the cultural dimension of genocide", the idea of ethnocide is more than just "cultural genocide", but also part of broader genocidal process.Because concepts such as cultural genocide and ethnocide have been used in different contexts, the anthropology of genocide examines their inclusion and exclusion in law and policies.Genocidal rape
Genocidal rape is the action of a group who has carried out acts of mass rape during wartime against their perceived enemy as part of a genocidal campaign. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, the Yugoslav Wars, and the Rwandan genocide, the mass rapes that had been an integral part of those conflicts brought the concept of genocidal rape to international prominence. Although war rape has been a recurrent feature in conflicts throughout history, it has usually been looked upon as a by-product of conflict, and not an integral part of military policy.The violence against women during the Partition of India has also been cited as an example of genocidal rape.Genocide denial
Genocide denial is the attempt to deny or minimize statements of the scale and severity of an incidence of genocide. Richard G. Hovannisian defines the denial as the final stage of a genocidal process and the erasing of the memories of the victim group: "Following the physical destruction of a people and their material culture, memory is all that is left and is targeted as the last victim. Complete annihilation of a people requires the banishment of recollection and suffocation of remembrance. Falsification, deception and half-truths reduce what was to what might have been or perhaps what was not at all." This denial of genocide is usually considered a form of illegitimate historical revisionism. The distinction between respectable academic historians and those of illegitimate historical revisionists rests on the techniques used to write such histories. Accuracy and revision are central to historical scholarship. As in any academic discipline, historians' papers are submitted to peer review. Instead of submitting their work to the challenges of peer review, illegitimate revisionists rewrite history to support an agenda, often political, using any number of techniques and rhetorical fallacies to obtain their results.
The European Commission proposed a European Union–wide anti-racism law in 2001, which included an offense of genocide denial, but European Union states failed to agree on the balance between prohibiting racism and freedom of expression. After six years of wrangling a watered down compromise was reached in 2007 giving states freedom to implement the legislation as they saw fit.Genocide of Shias by ISIL
The genocide of Shia Muslims by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) refers to the genocide within its formerly controlled areas in Iraq and Syria.
Despite being the religious majority in Iraq, Shia Muslims have been killed in large numbers by ISIL. On 12 June 2014, ISIL killed 1,700 unarmed Shia Iraqi Army cadet recruits in the Camp Speicher massacre. ISIL has also targeted Shia prisoners. According to witnesses, after the militant group took the city of Mosul, they divided the Sunni prisoners from the Shia prisoners. Up to 670 Shia prisoners were then taken to another location and executed. Kurdish officials in Erbil reported on the incident of Sunni and Shia prisoners being separated and Shia prisoners being killed after the Mosul prison fell to ISIL.Amnesty International has held ISIL responsible for the ethnic cleansing of ethnic and religious minority groups in northern Iraq (Christians and Yezidis) on a "historic scale", putting entire communities "at risk of being wiped off the map of Iraq". In a special report released on 2 September 2014, it described how ISIL had "systematically targeted non-Sunni Muslim communities, killing or abducting hundreds, possibly thousands, of individuals and forcing more than tens of thousands of Shias, Sunnis, along with other minorities to flee the areas it has captured since 10 June 2014". The most targeted Shia groups in Nineveh Governorate were Shia Turkmens and Shabak, who have lived together for centuries in Nineveh, large parts of which came under ISIL's control from mid-2014 to late 2017.Genocides in central Africa
In the waning years of the 20th century, ten million people were murdered in various remote parts of Central Africa. It is not a single genocide but a collection of ethnic wars which raged from Sudan, the Congo, through to Uganda and Rwanda.Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law on May 28, 1830 by U.S. 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.Josip Pečarić
Josip Pečarić (born 2/3 September 1948) is a Croatian professor of mathematics at the University of Zagreb and - as alleged by some - denier of the The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia. He has written and co-authored over 1100 articles on mathematics in journals, books, and conference proceedings.
He is publicly denounced for negations of the The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia and Persecution of Serbs in the Independent State of Croatia, for his advocating of making the "Za dom spremni" salute used in the fascist Independent State of Croatia official in the today's Croatian military, and for supporting some convicted war criminals from the Croatian War of Independence 1991–1995 such as Dario Kordić, Slobodan Praljak, Mladen Naletilić Tuta, etc. Similarly, Pečarić also supports memorials to the literary author and fascist minister in WWII Mile Budak, whom Pečarić denies to be a war criminal. He also supports the controversial contemporary musician Marko Perković, about whom he wrote a book.In the summary of his book "Serbian myth about Jasenovac" he does not negate the fact that the Holocaust happened in Croatia, but deals with the
Jugoslav communist and - later, during the Croatian War of Independence - Serbian propaganda against Croatian nationalism and simultaneous diminishing of anti-Jew war crimes in Serbia in WWII. He writes:"... the story of Jasenovac deflects attention from the Belgrade camps of Sajmiste and Banjica, better put, from the Belgrade camp." Pečarić states further, the religious end intellectual elites of Serbia augmented considerably the crimes committed by pro-Nazi regime of Independent State of Croatia in WWII, "in order to divert attention from the fact that the highest circles within the Church and the Serbian intellectual elites collaborated with the Germans and themselves propagated Nazi politics and believed that it was possible to achieve Greater Serbian ambitions within Hitler's system."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 (the Communist Party of Kampuchea), 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.Nanjing Massacre denial
Nanking Massacre denial is the denial that Imperial Japanese forces murdered hundreds of thousands of Chinese soldiers and civilians during the Second Sino-Japanese War, a highly controversial episode in Sino-Japanese relations. Some historians accept the findings of the Tokyo tribunal with respect to the scope and nature of the atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army after the Battle of Nanking, others do not accept. In Japan, however, there has been a debate over the extent and nature of the massacre. Relations between Japan and China have been complicated as a result, as denial of the massacre is seen in China as part of an overall unwillingness on Japan's part to admit and apologize for its aggression, or a perceived insensitivity regarding the killings. Estimates of the death toll vary widely, ranging from 40,000 to 200,000. Some scholars, notably the revisionists in Japan, have contended that the actual death toll is far lower, or even that the event was entirely fabricated and never occurred at all. These revisionist accounts of the killings have become a staple of Japanese nationalist discourse.Some Japanese journalists and social scientists, such as Tomio Hora and Katsuichi Honda, have played prominent roles in countering such historiography, in the decades since the killings. Nonetheless, denialist accounts, such as those of Shūdō Higashinakano, have often created controversy in the global media, particularly in China and other East Asian nations. Coverage of the massacre in Japanese school textbooks also troubles Sino-Japanese relations, as in some textbooks, the massacre is only briefly mentioned.Rwandan genocide denial
Rwandan genocide denial is the assertion that the Rwandan genocide did not occur in the manner or to the extent described by scholarship. The Rwandan genocide is widely acknowledged by genocide scholars to have been one of the biggest modern genocides, as many sources point to the sheer scale of the death toll as evidence for a systematic, organized plan to eliminate the victims.
Denial of the Rwandan genocide is a crime in Rwanda.Serbian genocide
Serbian genocide may refer to several different events:
The Holocaust in Serbia, Nazi genocide against Jews and Romani during World War II
Croatia–Serbia genocide case, a 1999–2015 suit before the International Court of JusticeThe Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia
The Holocaust in the Independent State of Croatia refers primarily to the genocide of Jews, but sometimes also include that of Serbs (the "Genocide of the Serbs") and Romani (Porajmos), during World War II within the Independent State of Croatia, a fascist puppet state ruled by the Ustashe regime, that included most of the territory of modern-day Croatia, the whole of modern-day Bosnia and Herzegovina and the eastern part of Syrmia (Serbia). 90% of Croatian Jews were exterminated in Ustashe-run concentration camps like Jasenovac and others, while a considerable number of Jews were rounded up and turned over by the Ustashe for extermination in Nazi Germany.Utilitarian genocide
Utilitarian genocide is one of five forms of genocide categorized and defined in 1975 by genocide scholar Vahakn Dadrian.Utilitarian genocide is distinctly different from ideologically-motivated genocides like the Holocaust and the Cambodian genocide. This form of genocide has as its aim some form of material gain, such as the seizure of territory in order to gain control of economic resources for commercial exploitation. Two given examples of this form are the genocide of indigenous peoples in Brazil and the genocide of indigenous peoples in Paraguay.This form of genocide was highly prominent during the European colonial expansions into the Americas, Oceania, and Africa. The colonial expansion into the Americas was markedly different in its approaches to the accumulation of wealth. The French colonization of the Americas through exploitation and the fur trade had a minor impact on the indigenous peoples. The Spanish colonization of the Americas however was devastating to the indigenous population, as was the British colonization of the Americas. Dadrian has also given as further examples of utilitarian genocide the murders of Moors and Jews during the Spanish Inquisition and the killing of Cherokee Indians during the colonial expansion of the United States.This type of genocide has continued into the twentieth century, with the ongoing genocide of indigenous tribes in the rain forests of South America primarily due to progress and the development of resources within their territories; these regions are exploited for economic gain the indigenous peoples are considered a "hindrance" and are forcibly relocated or killed.
(list by death toll)