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Flashcards in What is genocide? Deck (54):

Kissi (2004)

unless the killing of “political groups” and “ political activists” includes or leads to the total or partial destruction of the ethnic communities to which members of the political groups belong—as it did not in Ethiopia—then such killing ought not be called genocide.


Bauer (2006), crit of genocide convention

1948 Genocide Convention = one of most problematic docs in international relations

Brainchild of Lemkin
Convention diff from his ideas
Result of horse-trading between USSR and West


• Unclear if all conditions or only one or two have to be fulfilled for the murder to be called a genocide

• Difficult to see shoving ppl into gas chambers as creating conditions of life designed to prevent victims' existence

• Rwanda - Hutu and Tutsi not ethnic groups. Differences originally class diffs. Strictly speaking description of Rwandan tragedy as genocide cld be challenged. But ofc it was genocide. So definition wrong

Political murders not included
Religion and ethnicity included - former theoretically matter of choice and latter (3) extremely difficult to change.

No logic in including religious but not polit groups - in principle can change polit allegiances

Another problem - use of term 'racial':

• No races - all humans originate from group of Homo sapiens who develd some half a mill yrs ago in East Africa
• Diffs in colour of skin = secondary mutations caused mainly by climate
• Race shouldn’t be included in definition of genocide
• Racial prejudice should

Another problem - 'partial or total annihilation':

• If every individ in group murdered, no chances of rebirth, all other parts of definition become inoperative
• Main diff between genocide of Jews and (4) Roman and Gypsies - never Ger plan to murder all the Roma


Bauer (2006), Genocide prevention conference in Stockholm, Jan 27, 2004 - I suggested description of genocide, not definition:

• 4 types of genocidal events

• Acc to Convention's definition

• Politicides

• Ethnic cleansing w purpose to eliminate an ethnic group

• Global genocidal ideologies that preach murderous propaganda and practice mass murder, e.g. Radical Islam


Bauer (2006), utopias

always kill


Bloxham (2003), problem w term genocide and defining their beginnings and ends

• genocide more a legal than a historical term - designed for ex post facto judgements of the courtroom rather than the historian's attempt to understand events as they develop

• Genocide = classic example of the past examined teleologically - retrospective projection

• Recognising that killing constituted a genocide should be by-product of hist's work, not ultimate aim or underpinning

• pinpointing precise time w/in period of radicalisation at which a state framework that is demonstrably permissive of murder and atrocity becomes explicitly genocidal is extremely difficult and unlikely ever to be achieved definitively


Bloxham (2003), more useful than thinking in terms of 'genocide'?

If we think more along lines of a 'policy of annihilation' (as develd by Peter Longerich in Holocaust context), we get the idea of a general consensus of destruction of the Armenian national community


Winter (2003), 'genocide' not referring to one thing

Term genocide not a unity but a general class of crimes of diff origins and character


Sharlach (2000), social and political groups

Pieter Drost, a Dutch professor of law, in 1959 argued that the omission of groups formed on the basis of political afŽliation from the Convention might permit states to exploit this loophole. In the last 15 years, many academics and human rights advocates have demanded the inclusion of social and political groups in the Convention’s deŽfnition of genocide so as to facilitate prosecution of violent crimes against members of such groups.


Helen Fein on genocide convention's flaws

Sharlach (2000)

Helen Fein believes that one shortcoming of the Convention is the ambiguity of the meaning of intention to destroy. Fein notes that the distinctions between genocide, terror, mass killings, and war crimes are not always clear.

Her own definition lists the following conditions as necessary to establish genocide:

1. there was a sustained attack on continuity of attacks by the perpetrator to physically destroy group members;

2. the perpetrator was a collective or organized actor (usually the state) or commander of organized actors;

3. the victims were selected because they were members of the collectivity;

4. the victims were defenseless or were killed regardless of whether they surrendered or resisted; and

5. the destruction of group members was undertaken with intent to kill and murder was sanctioned by the perpetrator


Ernest Becker, 1973, The Denial of Death

conflicts between contradictory immortality projects, especially religious ones, is the main cause of wars, bigotry, genocide, racism, nationalism.


Stanton, G, 'The 8 Stages of Genocide' (1998, originally presented as briefing paper at the US State Dept in 1996)

1. Classification. Bipolar socs that lack mixed categories, e.g. Rwanda, are most likely to have genocide
2. Symbolization - giving names or other symbols to the classifications
3. Dehumanization - one group denies humanity of other group. Mems of it are equated w animals, vermin, insects or diseases. Dehumanization overcomes normal human revulsion against murder. Hate propaganda used to vilify victim group. Denial of humanity of others is the step that permits killing w impunity. Rats, vermin, cockroaches, disease. Bodies of genocide victims oft mutilated to express this denial of humanity. Such atrocities become justification for revenge killings, bc they are evd that the killers must be monsters, not human beings themselves
4. Organization - special army units or militias trained and armed
5. Polarization - Extremists drive the groups apart
6. Preparation - victims identified and separated out bc of their ethnic or religious identity
7. Extermination


Eric Wolf

• wherever civilisation advances, spells the doom of non-civilised


Leo Kuper, Ch3, Theories of Genocide, in Genocide: Its Political Use in the Twentieth Century (1981)

I prefer phrase 'hostage ppls' - directing analysis towards qualities of the victimisers and emph arbitrary nature of victims' fate:

Argument of affinity between colonialism and genocide can be accepted w much qualification:

creation of generalised categories may be conducive to genocide under certain conditions

Sartre's restraints on genocide, dependence on labour, are of functional nature. Conception of functional restraints on genocide seems to have some general applicability
• Sartre fails to mention frequent source of genocide - struggle between diff racial, ethnic or religious sections lumped together in colonial possessions for power

Theory of Russian delegation in debates on genocide:

• (47) genocide bound up w Nazism/fascism and similar racial theories, aiming at dom of superior races and extermination of inferior
• As to religious groups - in all known cases of genocide on grounds of religion, nationality or race were concomitant reasons
• Objection vs this theory - can't found general theory of genocide on one partic manifestation
• Another objection - exterminatory racism not necessarily part of fascist doctrine

Élite theory:

• When ruling elites decide continuation in power transcends all other economic and social values, poss for genocide increases qualitatively

Functional theories:

• Hunting and gathering groups standing in way of economic devel so elimination serving interests of economic progress
Anti-semitism served Nazi interests in gaining political support

Argument should not be phrased in terms of functions for the social system, but of functions for the dominant group that commits genocide

• Convincing arguments genocide not rooted in human nature - Most socs devel and relate to each other w/o interruption by group annihilating destruction
• Source of genocide = social conditions of man's existence - central to Fromm
Also signif of social factors in Lorenz

• Maximum identifiability present where marked racial diffs
Cultural diffs may be equally divisive

• (54) plural socs - w persistant cleavages between racial, ethnic, religious groups - are major arena for genocidal conflict

Ideologies invariably present in genocides of our own era

Since genocide = crime vs a collectivity, policies w effect of collectivising mems of the soc into polarised sections increase potentiality for genocide:

not exclusively crime of govts

• Line between diff forms of annihilation - racial, ethnic, religious, political - is quite arbitrary, partic since political motives usually enter into genocides (56) vs racial, ethnic or religious groups

Genocide not inevitable consequence of certain social conditions:

non-genocidal socs:

• Effective restraints vs genocides
Study of these socs offers insight into inhibitions against genocide


Norman Cohn, Warrant for Genocide:

• Exterminatory anti-semitism
Differentiated from an anti-semitism which is related to role played by Jews e.g. as pioneers in money-lending.

• At its heart lies belief in a Jewish world conspiratorial body, employed in medieval times by Satan for the spiritual and physical ruination of Christendom, and in modern times, banded together for ruin and domination of the rest of mankind

presence of these organised killers = a necessary condition
• Pogroms as spontaneous outbreaks of pop fury seem to be myth

fantasies reminiscent of medieval times took strong hold of signif proport of post-1918 German soc



• Affinity between colonialism and genocide

• Affinity between colonialism and genocide
• Since belligerent nations industrial powers, initial balance acts as deterrent vs poss of real extermination
• Victory provokes hatred of civilians and civilians potentially rebels, so colonial troops maintain authority by terror of perpetual massacre, genocidal in character
• Accompanied by cultural genocide, bc colonialism economic system of unequal exchange
• Dependence of settlers on sub-proletariat of colonised protects the latter, to certain extent, against physical genocide
• In struggles for national independence after WW2, superiority of colonialists in weapons and colonised in nums means insurgents rely on terrorism, ambushes, harassment, mobility, made poss by support of the entire pop
• Only effective strategy vs partisans thus = (45) genocide

• Infra-structural contradictions have stood in way of genocide



• Foundations of 20th C military slaughter on mass scale laid during WW1
• Regulating mechanism to reduce pop surplus? Blind mechanism in WW1, delib under Nazis



• Structural functional analysis
• Genocide (51) subserves ultimate end of equilibrium of a system beset by disarray through acute group conflict

Result of preponderant access to overall resources of power



• Instinctual aggression in man
• Aggression has taken exaggerated form in course of evolution
• Impersonal methods of killing at ever-increasing distances remove inhibitions



• Source in conflict between new and old structures of the brain
Neo-cortex, seat of our intellect, has failed to estab proper control over our ancient bran,


Levene, Why Is the Twentieth Century the Century of Genocide? (2000)

Argument about barbarism doesn't make sense - Greeks and Romans saw selves as most advance civs

form not primary issue

Framework is primary issue:

Origins of genocide and persistence and prevalence is intrinsically bound up w the emerging international system

Uneven historical development:

• (309) dominance of western core in foundation of international system
• Intersection of capitalism, industrialism and the nation-state = primary ingredients enabling western state supremacy. Thus, remain enduring features of the system as globalised
Genocides in drive for hegemony?

Three types of warfare, which have a common relationship to the nation state's place w/in broader international system:

Type One:

• Between recognised sovereign states w/in the system

Type Two:

• Sovereign state acts against state it perceives to be 'illegitimate'

Type Three:

• Enemy perceived 'illegitimate' community w/in territoral definition or imperial framework of the perpetrator state
• Genocide is a variant of Type Three, bc in many cases state does not resort to total warfare when assaulting elements of own pop

Whitehall unwilling to commit major resources to struggle vs Irish so no genocide

'genocide occurs where a state, perceiving the integrity of its agenda to be threatened by an aggregate population - defined by the state in collective or communal terms - seeks to remedy the situation by the systematic, en masse physical elimination of that aggregate, in toto, or until it is no longer perceived to represent a threat'

genocide = one-sided

those who don't commit genocide don't necessarily look in horror on those who have:

British observer of Herero/ Nama genocide - 'There can be no doubt, I think, that the war has been of an almost unmixed benefit to the German colony.

, to arrive at stable nation-state status, the leading mordernising states did at least commit proto-genocides
• These practices crucial in providing these states w shortcuts to capital accumulation, fuelling their cutting edge and industrial revolutions
This suggests 20th C practice of genocide has more in common w states which are new
• Those left behind played catch up by taking on board leaders' administrative, military and infrastructural aspects
• W the system fundamentally and dynamically fuelled by capitalism, new states cldn't stand still - had to find ways of staying afloat w/in this dominant polit economy

This = deterministic approach

Range means any attempt to suggest ideological proclivities or totalitarian systems as connecting thread = stretching point to the ridiculous.

Genocidal states = ones with strongest complexes about having been blocked off from position w/in international system they believe ought to be theirs

genocidal mentality closely linked w agendas aimed at accelerated/ force-paced social and economic change in interests of catching up, or avoiding, rules of system leaders

When does mixed social/ ethnic pop composition become toxic?
• Latter-day ideologues, scrutinising source of western state advantage, most readily latched onto ability to mobilise a supposedly distinct national people - the ethnos - into a coherent and powerful unity

National constructions all implicitly assumed existence of pop groupings which threatened to contaminate prescribed model

• Rwandese Hutu Power extermination of Tutsi in 1994 must be set against backdrop of counterrevolutionary efforts to destablise and destroy new postcolonial regime 1959-64
• 'Never Again' syndrome

• Fears of contamination didn't have to be manufactured by Nazis - simply echoed and amplified
• (324) state organised genocide not top down, but bottom-up from hate models provided by grass-roots societal phobias

willingness of leaders, involved in UN Charter on Human Rights, Genocide Convention and Nuremberg/ Tokyo trials, at the same time to acquiesce, condone, or even sponsor former wartime allies in sub-genocidal ethnic cleansings of millions of Germans and other unwanted peoples from their territories. Offered subliminal countermessage

State perpetrators exterminate groups of ppl because they perceive them as threat and find racial, ethnic or social tags for them as convenient for the purpose

Cold War/ bipolar struggle gave added edge/ intensity

state regimes which, bc economically faltering, may attmpt to compensate by amplifying national self-esteem message

as long as such efforts contained w/in territorial confines of state's own sovereignty or had no noticeable impact beyond, international anxiety about human rights violations or even genocide hardly translated into international censure, let alone action

This is bc nation state has remained sacrosanct:

• Nobody censured DK for genocide, tho well-known
• Instead, Western-led international community angry when it invaded by Vietnam

Willingness of internat system leaders to respond specifically to gross human rights violations in another sovereign state does rep a remarkable and poss quite unprecedented departure
Happened under auspices of today's Great Powers rather than at behest of UN recalls more familiar pattern of self-interested internat action

UN and other genuinely international institutions marginal to real conduct of internat affairs



• Holocaust arose from genuinely rational concern, generated by bureaucracy true to its form and purpose
• Soc like our own
• (307) affinity w modern civ



• Not about modernity
• About civilisation
• (308) capability of socs to deport or exteminate whole pops


Helen Fein

- comparisons based on either Holocaust or Gulag as single archetype which assume there is one mechanically recurring script are bound to be misleading


Rummel, Horowitz -

avoidance of genocide in western socs due to strength of civic institutions, separation of executive and legislative, and democratic, liberal traditions above all



Where modernity harnessed as instrument for realisation of imposs goals, you end up w dialectical set of tensions between power and impotence, reason and madness


Diane Orientlicher, 'Genocide' in Crimes of war: what the public should know, Gutman, Rieff, Dworkin, Mendez (2007)

1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide invoked w frequency, familiarity, and reverence rarely assoc w instruments of law
Come to embody conscience of humanity
Yet moral promise of Convention only partially redeemed

Belatedly punishing genocide but no corresponding will to prevent it

Although Convention envisaged international court to punish genocide, 45 yrs until 1st international criminal tribunal established:

• It jurisdiction limited to crimes, incl genocide, committed in former Yugoslavia since 1991
• Similar, more circumscribed tribunal for Rwanda 1 yr later

No efforts to prevent genocide:

• When ethnic cleansing underway in Balkans, legal experts in US govt asked to perform legal gymnastics to avoid calling it genocide
• New York Times - Clinton administration instructed spokespeople not to describe what was happening as genocide lest this inflame public calls for action

• Genocide Convention definition is authoritative - has been incorp verbatim in statutes of Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals, International Criminal (192) Court and other courts estab by/ with support of UN

1948 convention - genocide material element, comprising acts e.g. killing, and mental elements, import of intent.


• Political groups, even though earlier drafts listed these
• Concept of cultural genocide - destroying group (193) through forcible assimilation into dominant culture

In this/ other respects conventional genocide definition narrower than conception of Lemkin

Legal foundation for Convention laid during 1945 Nuremberg and other postwar prosecutions

Nuremberg Charter:

• Didn't use term genocide
• Definition of crimes against humanity overlapped significantly w Lemkin's conception of genocide

Term 'genocide' used in indictment against major war criminals tried at Nuremberg, who were accused of having 'conducted deliberate and systematic genocide, viz., the extermination of racial and national groups, against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy partic races and classes of ppl and national, racial or religious groups

Genocide difficult crime to estab

However, Yugoslavia and Rwanda crimes tribunals:

• Said in absence of direct evd, genocidal intent can be inferred from such factors as scale of atrocities committed and systematic targeting of victims on account of their membership of a partic group
• Defendants can be convicted of genocide-related charges w/o themselves intending destruction of protected group if, e.g., they knowingly and substantially furthered the commission of genocide by those who were bent on destruction of a targetted group
• (194) ICTY Appeals Chamber - genocide where evd shows alleged perp intended to destroy at least substantial part of the protected groups
• Krstić, commander of Bosnian Serb Drina Corps during Srebrenica massacre July 1995, convicted by this standard - trial chamber reasoned Bosnian Serb forces could not have failed to know that this selective destruction of the group would have a lasting impact upon the entire group
• Krstić convicted of genocide, though Appeals Chamber later reduced this to conviction for aiding and abetting genocide

By early 2006:

• Rwanda tribunal - convicted 24 defendants of genocide or genocide-related charges
• Small proport of those indicted by Yugoslavia tribunal convicted of genocide-related offences

• Over 2700 genocidaires have been prosecuted before Rwandan courts
• War Crimes Chamber in Sarajevo - charges vs suspects in connect w 1995 Srebrenica massacre
• Also courts outside Rwanda and Balkans instituted genocide proceedings vs suspected perps

States can be held legally responsible for breaching obligations under Genocide Convention:

• Parties to convention can bring case before International Court of Justice
• No State turned to ICJ for this until 1993
• 1993 - Bosnia and Herzegovina brought case against former Yugoslavia (case brought by suffering state, not others on behalf of victims)
• ICJ controversially ruled, Feb 26 2007, that Bosnia's legal team had estab occurrence of genocide only in respect of the Srebrenica massacre
• Court found Bosnia failed to prove Serbian state's legal responsibility for this genocide
• Serbia still 1st state in hist judged to have violated Genocide Convention - failure to arrest + transfer to the ICTY (195) Mladic, twice indicted for genocide, violated Serbia's treaty-based duty to punish genocide
Serbia also found in violation of duty to prevent genocide - should have used signif influence w Bosnian Serbs to prevent Srebrenica massacre

Armenian genocide = 1st 20th C genocide, begin April 1915
Loomed large in Lemkin's early thinking about need to criminalise
Hitler - 'Who after all is today speaking of the Armenians?'

• Perps and majority of victims Khmer, so reaching genocide conclusion has required agile legal reasoning
• Some scholars - auto-genocide. Poss to satisfy 1948 convention definitions by killing of own ethnic/national group
• Others - most victims killed for political motives, but certain minority groups e.g. Muslim Cham and Khmer Buddists specially targeted for destruction - this genocidal
• Jurisdiction of court estab 2006 to prosecute senior surviving KR leaders - joint UN-Cambodian govt initiative - includes genocide



• Proposed at international conference 1933 that treaty be created to make attacks on national, religious and ethnic groups an international crime
• Word genocide from Greek word genos - race or tribe - and Latin term for killing, cide

Axis Rule in Occupied Europe, 1944:

• Physical extermination only most extreme technique of genocide
• genocide signifies coord plan of diff actions aiming at destruction of essential foundations of life of national groups, w aim of annihilating groups.
• Objectives of plan = disintegration of political and social institutions, culture, language, national feelings, religion and economic existence of national groups, and destruction of personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even lives of individs belonging to such groups
• 2 phases of genocide
• 1 - destruction of national pattern of oppressed group
• 2 - imposition imposition of national pattern of the oppressor
• Coins term Genocide. Name to nameless crime
• 1st time term genocide in print
• Showed Nazis intended biological destruction of a whole people

Genocide had to be coordinated plan of actions, designed to destroy a group. Must be intended
Two phases:
Destruction of national pattern of the oppressed group. General habitual way of living
Imposition of way of living of the oppressor
Techniques of Genocide set out, w Jewish case as paradigm:
Political - change street names, change fam names, impose German administration. Making ppl placeless by destroying national unit
Social - abolish local law and courts and impose Ger structures. Social structure vital to national devel and to independence
Cultural - forbid from using own language in schools and print. Need to obtain licenses to continue practicing e.g. law
Economic - Jews deprived of many means of own existence - businesses closed and boycotted. Poles expelled from trades
Biological - lower birthrate by preventing marriage
Physical - ration food according to racial principles. Withold firewood and warm blanket in the winter. Kill. Lemkin talks about industrialised form of killing
• Religious - destroying synagogues
• Moral - moral debasement. Image of other as acting only according to base instincts. Pornographic materials imposed on Jewish groups to try to diminish moral health. Alcoholic consumption encouraged
• Essent diff between genocide and other violent crimes - former has to be crime against a group

• No means for providing for alleviation of treatment of pops until moment of liberation. Too late for remedies bc after liberation at best reparation of damages but never resolution of values which have been destroyed and can't be restored, e.g. human life, treasures of art, historical archives


Lemkin - more info

• Brought idea of genocide into political, legal and later into public domain
• Ignored by scholars until 15-18 yrs ago
• Auschwitz Institute seminar, New York, dedicated to Rahael Lemkin
• Lots of scholars, mostly in social sciences, working on Lemkin and his legacy
• Myth - become more than he was bc he gave voice to unspeakable crime
• Inspired by what he saw in Armenia
• Esp witnessing of recriminations by Armenians vs Ot Turks
• Wondered whether would be better to arrest and try Turks
• Problem - lack of universal and international law against which Ot Turks could be charged
• Only way to seek recrimination was through violence


Madrid conference 1933

• 5th internat conference for unification of Penal Law
• Under auspices of LofN
• Experts from 37 countries
• Lemkin submitted paper on need for recognised crime
• Connection between annihilation of national, racial, religious, but also cultural forms. Can destroy a ppl by destroying culture
• Barbarism
• Vandalism
• Crimes internat and transnat in nature
• Argued for extending jurisdication
• Any offender should be prosecuted and punished regardless of country of origin/ nationality
• Reference to Armenia. Paradigm case for barbarism and vandalism
• Not accepted - ppl concerned w threat to sovreignty
• USSR and Germany the most critical of Lemkin's proposals


Churchill - 1941

We are in the presence of a crime w/o a name
When no name, can't be published


UN Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the crime of Genocide 1946 - Andy's summary:

• Did not relate to political groups or cultural genocide - latter in partic not in line w Lemkin's vision
• Political groups seen as too fluid - can't be inherently part of a polit group
• Cultural genocide seen as being too weak - too stark-a contrast to hideous physical crimes of Holocaust
• Lemkin one of 3 outside experts helping w drafting
• Tried along w others to create consensus
• Concerns w this new crime
• Concerns anyone could accuse anyone of this crime - could destabilise international relations
• View won through - w/o standard, anyone could define genocide in any way they liked


Ratification of Convention

• Struggle
• West Germany eager to get rid of Nazi past - gladly agreed to ratify convention
• USSR did not ratify until 1954. Preferred diff definitions - idea of crime against humanity and aggression against the peace. Rly influential concepts in post-war trials. By using these definitions, Soviets relieved of responsibility for deportation
• US - feared power conflict w USSR and did not want to fight, also concerned Convention undermined US sovereignty. Didn't ratify until 1988. Remain among most vociferous critics of genocide convention
• Eventually 24 signatures. 20 required to pass into law
• 2 major powers refusing to ratify weakened convention from beginning bc exclusive in lots of ways, not truly international
• In yrs that followed, world lost interest in convention
• Lemkin disappointed world not as interested in it as he was
• Lemkin applied for financial support to continue work on the convention
• Not even Jewish organisations approved his applications for financial support to continue that work. Ended up having to borrow money to buy food. Died unrecognised
• Lemkin only recognised recently. Tells us a lot about convention - remained weak and littered w frailties


What are the problems with the Genocide Convention? - Andy's summary

• Ambiguity - in whole or in part… as such. How many people is in part? Lots of flexibility for outside groups to say when a genocide exists or not
• Vague over what constitutes a genocidal act. What is mental harm? What evidence would there be for this?
• Ambiguity reducing power of Convention
• Lack of Great Power backing
• Doesn't address cultural or political annihilation
• Nothing to oblige members to act
• No framework for prevention, machinery to ensure help is delivered in useful way
Establishing intent is very difficult - lack of clear order from Hitler has led to whole debate over how instructions flowed down


Revisions of genocide convention

• Yugoslavia and Rwanda:
• Some sense of how genocidal intent can be inferred
• Continuing and ongoing weakeness w the convention itself
• Weakness has had massive repercussions in terms of scholarship
• Led to dynamic scholarship, diff theories of genocide bc of weakness of Convention


Roger Smith:

• Genocide = calculated instrument to achieve an end
• Passionless, cold in design and implementation
• Throughout hist genocide committed w one of following motivations:
• Revenge, power, gain, conquest, purification
• 5 forms:
• Retributive, monopolistic, utilitarian, institutional, ideological
• Retributive - blaming victims for bringing destruction upon selves. Always follows dehumanisation of victims
• Institutional genocide - characteristic of pre-modern. Ingrained into concept of pre-modern warfare. Spreading terror, showing off power, preventing future retaliation
• Utilitarian - colonialism - ppl killed bc of where they were not who they were. 2 underlying factors - ethnocentrism, obsession and prioritisation of own ethnic group - greed - desire for more
• Ideological - difference between modern and pre-modern forms of genocide. Genocides in 20th C were about person's biological identity - rooted in blood. Unavoidable, inescapable
• Contradicts himself bc revenge = passion
• Riddled w inconsistencies and ambiguities


Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn:

• Trying to nuance classification of genocide
• Focus on intent
• Genocide = form of one-sided mass killing in which state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator
• About group being defined by the perp - membership of group in the eyes of those who want to destroy
• That's how groups have imagined victim identities/ groups to target


Israel W Chamy:

• Genocide = mass killing of substantial human beings when not in forces of enemy
• Focusing on power balance
• Genocide when victim group hopeless and powerless in relation to oppressors
• Genocide caused by innate, destructive impulse, caused by fear of death
• By accepting this theory, accept anybody could potentially commit genocide


Helen Fein:

• Came up w questions we need to ask to estab whether partic group has been victim of genocide
• What tactics used to maximise num of victims?
• What means besides direct killing used to destroy group mems?
• Did the state stand behind the perps?
• Victims selected before killing?
• Many more

FLACK - evd that convention doesn't do the job from need to ask so many more questions


Leo Kuper, Andy's summary

• Foremost theoretician alongside Helen Fein
• Can't understand what genocide is unless we compare diff genocides and seek out common strands
• 3 types of genocide:
1. Targeting of specific racial, ethnic, religious groups
2. Part of colonisation process
3. Plural society - these closely related to outbreaks of genocide
• 5 characteristisc of plural socs:
1. Superimposed set of diffs. Diffs to some degree manufactured
2. Disparity between degree of polit participation of groups - imbalance of power
3. Diff religions/ communal organisations
4. History of conflict
5. Attmpt to create and identity for the majority group
• When these 5 factors come together, common tendency to descend into violence


A road map to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime Genocide - Matthew Lippman 06/2002

The Sixth Committee, in 1947, considered the merits of adopting an inter- national convention on genocide. Sir Hartley Shawcross of the United Kingdom
argued that the Nuremberg Principles already encompassed genocide
10 and that
a Treaty which intruded into State sovereignty was unlikely to be accepted.11 He
later observed that the only real prevention against genocide was armed intervention.12
Mr. Castberg of Norway, on the other hand, noted that an international
Convention was necessary since States could not be depended upon to enforce
the Nuremberg Principles against their own leaders.

The General Assembly, at its 179th meeting, on December 9, 1948, unanimously
adopted the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of

The drafting of the Genocide Convention was strongly in uenced by the
memory of the Holocaust and the con icts accompanying the Cold War. There
was a tension between the desire to condemn Nazi atrocities and the requirement
that the proposed convention should be sufŽ ciently expansive to anticipate and
to prevent future acts of genocide. The United States and the Soviet Union also
opposed provisions which might be used to criticize or to condemn their

The Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc argued during the drafting process that
the preamble should stress that recent acts of genocide had resulted from Fascism-Nazism and other nationalisti c ideologies. This was rejected on the
grounds that reference to historical events might be interpreted as limiting the
scope of the Convention

The phrase “in time of war and in time of peace” was inserted by the Ad Hoc
Committee in order to clarify that, unlike the Nuremberg Charter, that the
Genocide Convention was not limited to acts committed during armed con ict.

The decision was made to omit a motive requirement. The United Kingdom
persuaded the Sixth Committee that the listing of motives would enable
defendants to claim that their actions had been animated by motives other than
those enumerated

The phrase “in whole or in part” was inserted as a result of a Norwegian
initiative.63 The Soviet Union admonished that individuals might claim that they
lacked the speciŽ c intent wholly or partially to destroy a group. A Soviet motion
to encompass negligent acts within the scope of Article II was nevertheless
rejected.64 The United States pointed out that the intent to destroy a group
differentiated genocide from homicide.6

went so far as to propose that so long as the requisite intent existed, even the
killing of a single individual would constitute genocide. France later withdrew
this amendment, explaining that the Norwegian proposal expressed the same
fundamental idea

General Assembly Resolution 96(I) of 1946, as previously noted, afŽ rmed that
genocide was a crime under international law whether committed on religious,
racial, political, or any other grounds.68 This provided the basis for the Secretary- General’s expansive draft provision which encompassed racial, national, linguistic,
religious, or political groups.69 The Ad Hoc Committee omitted linguistic
groups from protection.70 The Sixth Committee concurred in this decision and
also excluded political groups.71 The rationale was that racial, religious, ethnic
and national groups historically had been the targets of animosity and were
characterized by cohesiveness, homogeniety, inevitability of membership, stability and tradition

2 AfŽfiliation with political groups, in contrast, was considered a matter of individual choice and such movements were viewed as ephemeral.

The enumeration of acts constituting genocide was intended to be restrictive
rather than illustrative. A Soviet amendment which characterized these acts as
exemplary was rejected by the Sixth Committee.77 The Chinese also argued that
it was impossible to anticipate the acts which might be utilized to perpetrate
genocide.78 However, the majority of delegates insisted that individuals should
be provided notice as to the acts constituting the crime of genocide. It also was
feared that a failure to fully enumerate the acts comprising genocide would lead
to a lack of uniformity between the provisions of various national criminal

The Sixth Committee rejected a Syrian proposal to extend Article III to
encompass measures directed towards forcing members of a group to abandon their homes in order to escape ill-treatment.91 Mr. Tarazi argued that this was far
more serious than ill-treatment.92 The Soviet Union, with its history of forced collectivization , successfully argued that a group’s abandonment of its homes was a consequence rather than a characteristic of genocide

General Assembly Resolution 96(I) had
proclaimed that genocide had resulted “in great losses to humanity in the form
of cultural and other contributions represented by these groups.”
95 This seemingly
contemplated that a group’s culture as well as its physical integrity merited
protection. The Secretary-General’s draft,96 as well as the Ad Hoc Committee
provision, accordingly prohibited cultural genocide.97
The Sixth Committee recognized that the prohibition against genocide was intended to protect a group’s physical existence as well as its culture

The Sixth Committee nevertheless deter- mined that the prohibition against cultural genocide was best included within a
supplemental convention.100 The rationale was that the Treaty under discussion
should be limited to the most aggravated form of genocide

Other delegates
feared that a prohibition on cultural genocide would be interpreted to inhibit the
assimilation of cultural or linguistic groups and to prevent various States from
ratifying the Convention.1

The Soviet Union and its Eastern Block satellite States urged
punishment of preparatory acts in order to prevent the development and deploy- ment of the type of draconian techniques which had been applied against Slavs
and Jews.106 Other delegates assured the Soviets that preparatory acts, when
undertaken with the intent to commit genocide, would be punishable as an
inchoate crime under Article III.107

Sub-paragraph (c) punishes direct and public incitement to commit genocide.108 A United States amendment which claimed that this constituted a
violation of freedom of speech was defeated.1

Mr. Morozov of the Soviet Union unsuccessfully argued that all those
committing genocide should be punished and contended that the Convention
should explicitly follow the Nuremberg standard and state that neither the
command of law nor superior orders should constitute a defense to genocide.121
This would serve as a warning that the price of obedience to orders to commit
genocide was criminal prosecution He noted that if the defense of superior
orders had been recognized at Nuremberg then only Hitler would have been
declared guilty.122 Mr. Perez Perozo of Venezuela opposed abrogation of the
defense since it risked the conviction of police or soldiers who were ordered to
Ž re into a crowd in the belief that they were suppressing a disturbance when, in
fact, they were carrying out the genocidal designs of their superior ofŽficer

3 In the end, the Committee
rejected inclusion of a provision pertaining to the superior orders defense.124 Mr.
Bartos of Yugoslavia complained that the Sixth Committee had ratiŽ ed a regime
in which individuals could cloak their guilt behind the claim of superior orders. The result, in his view, was to render the Ž ght against genocide an “empty

The 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of
Genocide formally anointed the crime of genocide as an international crime and
imposed obligations on States to prevent and to punish this crime. The Treaty
helped to elevate human rights to international concern. Following a lengthy
hibernation, the Convention has been roused to reaction to the renewal of
communal violence and genocide.192 Despite the Treaty’s singular signiŽ cance,
it has not been assimilated into the International Bill of Rights and no effort has
been made to revise its provisions to insure a more effective enforcement


A road map to the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime Genocide - Matthew Lippman 06/2002, reform of the genocide convention

The 1978 report of the Special Rapporteur on genocide concluded that the
Convention lacked effective internationa l measures to prevent and punish geno- cide and has not provided an “obstacle” to the perpetration of genocide.165 The
Special Rapporteur’s 1985 report echoed this conclusion

The 1978 Special Rapporteur expressed the fear that an extension of
the scope of protection would impede the ratiŽ cation of the Convention and
observed that political groups were adequately protected under existing human
rights instruments

The acts enumerated in Article II attempt to strike a balance between being
overly restrictive and unnecessarily broad. The text, however, often fails to
adequately delineate the actions which are prohibited. It too often is assumed
that genocide requires the direct killing of a group. The Secretariat should clarify
the circumstances under which acts such as enslavement, expulsions, population
transfers, rape, forced religious conversions, environmental devastation, trade
boycotts and enforced sterilization would constitute genocide

The question of cultural genocide remains controversial. The prohibition on
genocide is intended to prohibit extermination and the in iction of potentially
lethal pain and suffering. An equally important aspiration is to preserve the
complex cultural mosaic of the human family. Critics contend that a prohibition
on ethnocide might impede assimilationist policies. However, this must be
distinguishe d from the deliberate destruction and desecration of icons, libraries, monuments, and coercive religious conversions

Criminal liability should be extended to constitutiona l monarchs and heads of
State who do not enjoy executive power

In 1985, the Special Rapporteur advocated inclusion of a provision which abrogated the superior orders defense, observing that this would align the
Convention with prevailing international practice and more recent human rights
. The failure to incorporate such a provision enables individuals who
have enthusiastically embraced the dictates of authority to invoke superior orders
in those jurisdictions which recognize the defense. This, in effect, results in
liability being limited to those few ofŽ cials who conspired to commit the

0 He further
favored extending the prohibition on incitement to genocide to encompass
propaganda in favor of genocide

Perhaps the central  aw in the Genocide Convention is that the Treaty places
primary reliance on prosecution by States on whose territory acts of genocide
have been committed. These governments usually have sponsored, or have been
in complicity with such acts, and are unlikely to vigorously pursue prosecutions. Even following their removal from ofŽ ce, the perpetrators of genocide often
possess sufŽ cient support to avoid prosecution

The 1985 Special Rapporteur noted that individuals who  ee abroad typically
Ž nd refuge in sympathetic States. These countries are not obligated under the
Convention to extradite offenders

The 1978 Special Rapporteur advocated universal jurisdiction as an antidote
to the failure to create an international criminal court

Article IX, which provides for jurisdiction by the International Court of
Justice, is subject to numerous reservations by Signatory States. This eviscerates
a crucial component of the Convention and it would be advisable to clarify that
reservations to this Article are inconsistent with the object and purpose of the
Treaty.188 Article IX also contains a fundamental limitation. The International
Court of Justice may order a State to pay damages for genocide committed
against the citizens of a complaining country. But there is an absence of a
mechanism for ensuring that a State which victimizes its own nationals provides compensation

, the Convention might
declare null and void any territorial and other gains obtained through geno- cide.1 The Special Rapporteur’s 1985 report observed that the Convention’s central
weakness was the failure to provide preventive measures. The obligation of
Contracting Parties, under Article I, to prevent and to punish genocide requires
clariŽ cation. States might be expressly obligated to cooperate in prosecutions, assist victims, engage in educational efforts and to promote diversity.190 There is
strong support for the creation of a genocide early warning system which would
be administered by a Special Rapporteur or by a newly created Genocide


Daniel Marc Segesser & Myriam Gessler (2005) Raphael Lemkin and the international debate on the punishment of war crimes (1919–1948), Journal of Genocide Research

When in 1945 the major German war criminals were put on trial at the Inter- national Military Tribunal, the charter of the tribunal as well as the indictment were concerned with three crimes: crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity. All three of these categories had been discussed in the interwar period and Raphael Lemkin had participated in this debate both as member of the Polish Commission for International Juridicial Cooperation and the Association Internationale de Droit Pe ́ nal. On the one hand, Lemkin joined the call of Vespasien Pella and his colleague Emil Stanislaw Rappaport to create instruments to punish aggressive war as well as the propaganda for aggressive war on an international level according to the legal principle of universal jurisdiction. On the other hand, both Rappaport and Lemkin were rather sceptic when the confer- ences for the unification of criminal law in Brussels and Paris tried to narrow the concept of the intentional use of instruments capable of producing public danger to acts of terrorism. Only Lemkin, however, presented an alternative proposal. After this proposal had been defeated neither Lemkin nor Rappaport participated in the efforts of the Association Internationale de Droit Pe ́ nal to set up conventions for the prevention of terrorism and the creation of an International Criminal Court. World War II separated the two men that had worked together for about a decade. While Rappaport remained in occupied Poland, Lemkin escaped to the United States. During the war it was Lemkin’s aim to collect as much information as possible on the German system of occupation. On the one hand, Lemkin’s aim was legal, as he believed that Hitler and his associates had to be punished as common criminals. His documentation was meant to support any indictment brought up in this context. Lemkin, however, also believed that the German crimes had to be documented for history, in order to prevent such crimes from happening again in the future and in order to work as an argument for the future codification of international criminal law. Lemkin’s work was therefore the work of a lawyer and a philologist at the same time. It is in this context that Lemkin developed the concept of genocide. Whether this was done on purpose or by accident is not quite clear, but Lemkin had created a new and powerful catchword for jurists as well as for philologists. After the UN General Assembly had voted the Genocide Convention, Lemkin was found with tears in his eyes in the Assembly chamber, to a large extent probably because of his family that had been killed during the Holocaust. 87 Perhaps there was another reason: Lemkin seemed to have reached his aim and finally it was the concept of genocide that was taking the place of the concept of the intentional use of instruments capable of producing public danger formulated at the Warsaw Conference of 1927. Genocide now seemed to take the place as the most dangerous crime, a place that in the debate on international criminal law of the interwar period had first been occupied by the issues of war crimes and aggressive war and then by the concept of terrorism


The Genocide Convention at Fifty | United States Institute of Peace - William Schabas

Genocide is defined in the Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, adopted by the U.N. General Assembly fifty years ago, on December 9, 1948. For a time, it was the forgotten convention, drafted in the aftermath of the Holocaust but then relegated to obscurity as the human rights movement focused on more "modern" atrocities: apartheid, torture, disappearances. Events in Rwanda and Bosnia have rehabilitated the Convention, whose application and interpretation have become matters for urgent attention.

easier for an academic to draft a definition than for a United Nations
committee to do so, even at a time when there were only fifty-eight member states

National lawmakers have felt less constrained by the strict terms of the international
instrument, and domestic laws aimed at giving effect to the convention
often provide a broader scope for the term, encompassing political groups or for
that matter any group with a degree of permanence. In October 1998, some observers
were surprised when a Spanish prosecutor charged Chile’s Augusto Pinochet
with genocide for crimes committed during the 1970s. Certainly the case seems
difficult to make under the convention definition, because the victims were Chilean
political activists, not an identifiable ethnic group. But Spain has opted for a
broader definition than the one that is internationally recognized, one that comprises
political and other groups. Ethiopian law is similar in this respect, and trials
have been under way for several years against members of the former Derg regime
who are charged with genocide

In its groundbreaking decision of September 2, 1998, the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda was vexed by the problem of classifying Rwanda’s Tutsis as a
race or an ethnic group. Ultimately, it concluded that the convention definition is
meant to protect all “stable” groups, “constituted in a permanent fashion and
membership of which is determined by birth, with the exclusion of the more ‘mobile’
groups which one joins through individual voluntary commitment, such as
political and economic groups.” But even this definition is unsatisfactory, because
a person’s membership in religious and national groups may certainly change over
a lifetime, and new groups may come into existence

At the heart of the definition, it would seem, is the fact that it is the perpetrator
who has defined or identified the group for destruction. It was Hitler’s view of
Jewishness that prevailed at Auschwitz, not some neutral rule or one adopted by
the victims themselves. In other words, the test is subjective, not objective. Similarly,
in Rwanda, the Belgian colonizers had defined ethnic Tutsis as those possessing
a certain number of cattle. The determinations were made sixty or seventy years
ago, then inscribed on identity cards, and passed from parents to children according
to customary rules. In 1994, individuals were Tutsis if the Interahamwe militia
said they were

Surely an individual who sought to destroy the “Negroid” or “Mongoloid”
race or part of it would be committing genocide under the terms of the
convention, even though modern science disputes the validity of such designations
from an objective standpoint.

Obviously, there is a quantitative threshold. The
term “genocide” would be trivialized if it were extended to cover isolated hate
crimes and racially motivated violence. In 1982, the General Assembly denounced
the massacres of hundreds at the Palestinian refugee camps of Sabra and Shatilla as
genocide. But there was significant, vocal opposition, and there can be no doubt
that the term was stretched in order to wound Israel’s Jewish population

Because genocide is a
crime of intent, the real question is what is the purpose of the offender, not what is
the result. Even if only a few are killed or injured, the crime is genocide if the intent
is to destroy the group “in whole or in part.”

Where there are large numbers of
victims, such an intent is relatively easy to prove and is little more than a logical
deduction from the facts. Where the numbers are low, some other elements will be
necessary, such as evidence of genocidal speeches and declarations, destruction of
cultural and religious symbols accompanying acts of violence, and so on.

Why is the definition of genocide so important? Precisely because there is a
convention. Bosnia has sued the former Yugoslavia before the International Court
of Justice for breach of the Genocide Convention. It must show that the brutal
ethnic cleansing carried out during the war amounted to genocide

Modest and ambiguous as convention obligations may be, more
than 120 states have accepted them, something they have refused to do, to date,
in the case of the more broadly defined concept of crimes against humanity. Only
since July 1998 can we speak of a treaty that includes comparable obligations with
respect to crimes against humanity—the Rome Statute of the International Criminal
Court. But as yet, no states have ratified the statute,

The core of the Genocide Convention is the provisions dealing with obligations
to punish the crime

those who drafted the convention in 1948 were awed at the prospect of
creating an international system of criminal justice. The Cold War was beginning,
and there were fears that an international court would inevitably lead to abuse,
becoming a forum for politically motivated settling of scores between superpower

enduring interest in an international court. Although the Genocide
Convention contemplated this as an alternative to the courts of the territorial
state, there was only sporadic progress toward the creation of an international
criminal court until the end of the Cold War. In May 1993, the first of the ad hoc
tribunals was established by the Security Council, to address crimes in the former

t the genuine and universal international criminal court promised by the 1948
convention was only created fifty years later, at the Rome Diplomatic Conference of
June–July 1998. During the drafting of the Rome Statute for an International Criminal
Court, the crime of genocide was the single offence on which there was virtually
no serious argument; crimes against humanity and war crimes, particularly when
committed in internal conflicts, proved to be more problematic


Lemkin's definition of genocide - short version

“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.”

He said that the objective of
such a plan would be 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 Genocide Convention at Fifty | United States Institute of Peace - William Schabas, is Ethnic Cleansing a form of genocide?

The term “ethnic cleansing” entered the international vocabulary in 1992 with
the war in the former Yugoslavia. It lacks the precise legal definition genocide has

when the convention was being drafted in 1948, there was a
proposal to include “[i]mposing measures intended to oblige members of a group to
abandon their homes in order to escape the threat of subsequent ill-treatment” as
a formal act of genocide. The delegates felt this proposal was too remote from the
goals of the convention, and that such behavior might better be addressed as an
issue of the human rights of minority groups

There would seem to be a significant difference between ethnic cleansing and
genocide. The former seeks to “cleanse” or “purify” a territory of one ethnic group
by use of terror, rape, and murder in order to convince the inhabitants to leave. The
latter seeks to destroy the group, closing the borders to ensure that none escape.


The Genocide Convention at Fifty | United States Institute of Peace - William Schabas, Prevention of Genocide: The Convention’s Great Failure

Although the duty is set out in the convention, opinions
differ about just how far it may extend. Put bluntly, are states required, as a legal
obligation, to take action up to and including military intervention in order to
prevent the crime from occurring?

In April and May 1994, as massacres of Rwandan Tutsis took place, the U.N.
Security Council hesitated to use the “g word”. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, then secretary-general,
said that this hesitation was out of fear that if the council agreed that
genocide was taking place, it would have no alternative but to intervene militarily.
In his speech at Rwanda’s Kigali airport, on March 25, 1998, President Clinton
apologized for the tragic and unpardonable failure of the international community
to react: “We did not immediately call these crimes by their rightful name: genocide.”
He stopped short, but not far short, of saying that the international community
should have taken effective action.

Canadian General
Romeo Dallaire, who commanded the peacekeepeers in Kigali at the time, has often
said that with a force of 5,000 and an appropriate mandate, the massacres could
have been stopped. Dallaire is now on indefinite sick leave from the Canadian
forces, wrestling with his own personal demons from a genocide that he foretold
but seemed helpless to prevent. As the genocide raged, Dallaire eventually told the
Security Council that if an aggressive mandate was not forthcoming, then it would
be better to withdraw. And that was the shameful course taken by the Security

The United States was unwilling to commit troops, and without its support,
nothing could take place, at least in the short term. By June 1994, the council
authorized an ambiguous French military presence in southwest Rwanda that was
couched in humanitarian terms but had the effect of facilitating the retreat of
those responsible for the crimes

In August 1998, the Rwandan foreign minister, Athanase Gasana, claimed his
country’s armed forces would intervene in Congo in order to prevent genocide directed
against the Tutsi minority and instigated by erstwhile ally Laurent Kabila.
Surely any right to intervene unilaterally is subject to the United Nations Charter
and requires Security Council approval. But who wanted to be the one to tell the
Rwandans that they had to wait, again, while the matter was considered by a body
that still was not sure that it was required to act?

That the Security Council is entitled to intervene, or to authorize intervention,
in order to prevent persecution of ethnic minorities cannot, since the end of the
Cold War, be seriously questioned. Here the starting point is Resolution 688, authorizing
the use of force against Iraq in order to protect the Kurdish minority from

But the issue is not whether the international community may intervene but
rather whether it must intervene when a group protected by the Genocide Convention
is threatened with extermination. If Boutros-Ghali was right, then such an
obligation exists. Indeed, the reluctance of the Security Council to use the term
suggests that its members shared this view

The doctrine of humanitarian intervention has suffered from its uneven application.
Invoked with enthusiasm in Iraq and Somalia, it was brushed aside as genocide
raged in Rwanda.


The Genocide Convention at Fifty | United States Institute of Peace - William Schabas, Recommendations

Unlike other human rights treaties, there has been no “treaty body” or committee
charged with ensuring the Genocide Convention’s implementation and helping to
define its content. The convention most certainly suffered from the absence of a
monitoring organ similar to those that exist in the case of civil and political rights,
women’s rights, torture, and other important issues on the human rights agenda. A
recent suggestion that this weakness be corrected was made by the United Nations
Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities
but has not been taken up by bodies in a position to implement such a measure

A Committee on Genocide would be the logical forum to provoke debate on and
ultimately spell out the details of the obligation to prevent genocide. But even
recommendations from such a treaty body would not bind states. What is really
required is a formal recognition of the duty to intervene to prevent genocide.

Whatever the vehicle, if the message is clear
it will be taken as authoritative interpretation of the convention’s obligation to
prevent genocide, and perhaps even a manifestation of customary law, binding on
the 60-odd states that have yet to ratify the convention as well as on the 125 that
have accepted its terms

Other duties, too, remain vague and require clarification. For example, the convention
says states must cooperate in the extradition of genocide suspects “in
accordance with their laws and treaties in force.” This statement falls far short of a
firm requirement that they ensure offenders be brought to justice. The Geneva Conventions
of 1949 go much further in dealing with war crimes, obliging states to
investigate and then either try or extradite, so that no suspect goes untried

Another matter is the prohibition of incitement to genocide, a difficult issue
because it butts up against the need to ensure freedom of expression. In Rwanda, a
contribution to the prevention of genocide might have been made by jamming the
waves of Radio Mille Collines, which was responsible for promoting so much ethnic

Besides the Genocide Convention, major international
human rights instruments, including the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention for the Prevention of All Forms of Racial
Discrimination, require the interdiction of racist propaganda. Both have been ratified
by the United States, but with reservations on the hate speech provisions inspired by concerns that ratifying them might conflict with constitutional principles
of freedom of expression. Out of similar preoccupations, legislation adopted
in European countries has met with an uneven reaction in bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee. Thus, the application
of this important obligation to prevent incitement to genocide remains muddied
by divergent practice and confused jurisprudence


Paul Boghossian (2010) The concept of genocide, Journal of Genocide

some concepts are such that, nothing could be said to fall
under them at a given time unless someone is prepared to say that something falls
under them

each element of the UN concept’s intention clause seems plagued with
problems. Together, these problems add up to a very serious critique of the
UN’s genocide concept, showing that it hasn’t succeeded in satisfying the aims
that underlie its introduction.

three such constitutive purposes behind the introduction
of the term ‘genocide’. (In philosophers’ jargon, these ‘constitutive purposes’
are essential aspects of the ‘conceptual role’ of the concept of genocide.)
First, it is supposed to name a distinctive phenomenon, something that is not
denoted by any of the other terms that we already have in the language. Lemkin
believed that in the Jewish and Armenian cases he had observed a distinctive
crime, something that deserved to be called the murder of a people, that none
of the other terms at our disposal—mass murder, for example—denoted.
Second, it is supposed to name a phenomenon that is, as part of its very
meaning, morally wrong.
Finally, genocide is taken to name not only a distinctive crime but one that is
distinctively heinous,

Is killing a group morally worse than simply killing large numbers of people? Can't see how this argument would be formulated

Supposing we can
justify saying that targeting a group is morally worse than targeting its
members, why is it just ethnic, racial, national and religious groups that count
as far as this special moral censure is concerned? Why doesn’t destroying a
group that is organized around an ideology, or around class, or around wealth,
count equally? Stalin killed millions of kulaks because of their alleged opposition
to collectivization. Why shouldn’t that count?

if we are so concerned with indelibleness, why is gender not included? And
why is religion included?

, why should indelibleness matter morally in this way? Is it really
more morally reprehensible to kill people for what they biologically are than it is
to kill them for what they may have blamelessly become?

Suppose that we respond to these observations by agreeing that the UN defi-
nition is arbitrarily narrow, that we should expand the kinds of groups that are
allowed to count. Do we then just say that any group can count? Would residents
of Hiroshima and Nagasaki count as a relevant group?

Some people think that the solution is to focus on groups that identify themselves
as a group

But it should be clear that that would still let in an enormous
number of groups that no one thinks of as possible objects of genocide—e.g.
faculty members at New York University (NYU).


Genocide as a distinctive crime:

the trouble is that a ‘part’ of a particular
group can be a very small part. And the definition does nothing to rule out that
particular reading.

It is this that explains the UN ruling in the case of Srebrenica. But if it applies in
that case, why wouldn’t it apply in a host of other cases, too?
When, in the 1970s and 1980s, Armenian gangs targeted Turkish diplomats for
assassination, they were targeting individuals who constituted a ‘part’ of the
Turkish ethnic group

The intuition that fuels the thought that the Armenian and Jewish cases exemplify
a distinctive crime clearly recoils from the thought that September 11 also
exemplifies it. But how is that captured by the UN concept? Surely, 3,000
people count as a ‘substantial’ part of the American national group

The problem that we face here is that there is a gross and seemingly irremediable
vagueness in the notion of ‘killing a people

t there are limits to how vague a concept can
be and still be useful,

Genocide as analytically immoral:

Let me turn, finally, to the ‘as such’ condition. The intention must be to destroy a particular ethnic group, as such. What does that mean?

When people form intentions they form them under certain descriptions and not
others; we cannot accurately report on those intentions unless we use pretty much
the same descriptions they use and not just descriptions that happen to be coextensive
with the descriptions that they use.
Now, the trouble with this reading of the ‘as such’ condition is that it seems

. As is already
made clear by the travaux preparatoires to the UN convention, the point of the ‘as
such’ condition was not to insist on the obvious but to lay down a condition
regarding motive: for genocide to occur there must be an intention to destroy a particular
group just because it is that very group.

The trouble with this stronger reading is that it is nearly never the case that the
sole explainer for why someone acts to kill or harm large numbers of people is just
the identity of those people.
It is very unlikely that the Armenians were killed just because they were Armenian,
but also because, as a large Christian civilization that had lived on the Anatolian
plateau for millennia, they stood in the way of the project of building a
Turkic Muslim nation-state out of the remnants of the Ottoman Empire

So, the ‘as such’ condition seems very problematic as well

I believe that the reason for the inclusion of the ‘as such’ condition has to with
the need to satisfy the second of the three desiderata specified for the concept:
namely, that the concept mark out a distinctive phenomenon that is, by virtue
of its very meaning, morally reprehensible.
The point is that the mere targeting of a group is not in itself necessarily a bad
thing. Suppose that that group has attacked you or has sided with your enemies.
Then attacking them in return would be justifiable self-defense

we could simply put that very phrase into the defi-
nition: genocide is the act of...committed with the intent of destroying a particular
...group, in whole or in part, without moral justification.
The trouble is that the minute you invoke the notion of ‘moral justification’
explicitly, it triggers peoples’ relativistic impulses: who’s to say what is and is
not morally justifiable?
From this point of view, the framers of the UN convention came up with an
ingenious solution. Since one can only justify attacking a group of people
because of something they have done and never simply because of who they
are, the ‘as such’ condition ensures that the defined phenomenon is necessarily
reprehensible, even if it doesn’t explicitly state that it is.
The trouble is that this way of satisfying the second desideratum runs into the
problems we have outlined.

t I think we should be
careful not to do something that many in the Armenian community seem to want to
do—and that is to frame the issue that divides them from the Turkish government
as resting exclusively on the applicability of this special label ‘genocide’ to what
happened in 1915. The word is too fragile a reed to sustain so much weight.
Even without the availability of the concept of genocide, we can still point out
that in 1915 over a million Armenian men, women and children were either intentionally
killed or died during mass deportations that were conducted with wanton
disregard for life. We can observe that there was no conceivable moral justification
to sanction the Ottoman Government treating some of its subjects in this

What I think we should resist is the temptation to capture all this in one neat


Christian P. Scherrer (1999) Towards a theory of modern genocide.
Comparative genocide research: Definitions, criteria, typologies, cases, key elements, patterns and
voids, Journal of Genocide Research

Genocide is the most severe type of violent conflict and has to be clearly distinguished from warfare; its victims are civilians (non-combatants) including old people, children, and even babies

One of the most important observations is that genocide and colonization were
always closely linked. The largest ever genocide in modern history was committed
by half a dozen European states in what was later called the Third World.

According to Darcy Ribero's estimates, the Indians of the Americas were
reduced by the Spaniards in the South and by other European settlers in the
North from 80 million in 1492 to 3.5 million in 1750

Genocide is a phenomenon known since ancient times; it means actions carried
out by a state or ruler with the intent to kill systematically a particular
community or social collectivity, resulting in destroying the targeted group in
whole or in part.
Modern genocide is state-organized mass murder and crimes against
humanity characterized by the intention of the rulers to exterminate individuals
for belonging to a particular national, ethnic, religious or "racial" group
(genocide), to a particular cultural group (ethnocide), to a particular political
group (politicide) or to a particular social group (democide). Genocide is a
premeditated mass-crime that has been systematically planned, prepared, and

Massacres and pogroms are genocidal acts committed by different types of
perpetrators such as state agents or entire agencies, political extremists and
interest groups against vulnerable groups which have been excluded from
main-stream society.
Partial genocide means that the perpetrators aimed at the destruction-in-part
of a particular community or group in order to dominate it. This was the case
regarding genocide and slavery against Africans and Afro-Americans committed
by European colonial powers and settlers.
Total genocide means that the perpetrators aimed at the complete extermination
and destruction-in-whole of a particular community or group, with the
intent to destroy its reproduction (as a group) as well as its culture and
Full-scale total genocide means that the perpetrators were aiming at the total
destruction of a particular community (genocide-in-whole, not in part). There
were only very few cases of total genocide before the 20th century, namely the
largest ever genocide committed between 1492 and 1750 by the Iberians
(Spanish and Portuguese) against the American Indians and the genocide against
North American Indians by other European powers and settlers

Four cases of full-scale genocide in the 20th century
1. The Aghet: Turkish genocide, from 1914 to 1923, against the Armenians.
2. The Holocaust: genocides committed between 1933 and 1945 by the Nazi
German state and its allies against the European Jews (Shoah), Roma
(Parajmos), Russians, other Slavic peoples, POWs, forced labor workers and
the political opposition.
3. The Khmer Rouge genocide in Kampuchea, from 1975 to 1979, against the
Vietnamese, Cham Muslim and Chinese minorities, as well as against
the Khmer urban classes.8
4. The Hutu-Power genocide in Rwanda, 1994, committed by the akazu elite,
their state machinery, Hutu-Power factions of all political parties and a huge
number of common people against the Tutsi branch of the Banyarwanda and
against Hutu opponents.9

War provided a smokescreen for the slaughter of millions of civilian victims

(gives tables illustrating genocide typology)

Typology of genocide:

Above all there must be a scale of degree of severity. The wording of the 1948
UNGC suggests genocide-in-whole and genocide-in-part: hence, total or fullscale
genocide and partial or large-scale genocide. Robert Melson combined this
distinction of scale (total/partial) with the equally obvious distinction of place
The type of perpetrator—whether state and non-state actors—would
therefore define an obvious distinction and third dimension of the crime of


Conceptual constraints on thinking about genocide - David Moshman 11/2001

focus on the Holocaust is not simply an editorial bias of a particular journal;
rather, it represents the state of the fi eld

Application of a Holocaust-based concept of genocide, as opposed to one based
on some other genocide, substantially determines what events are construed as genocidal

Applying a Holocaust-based concept of
genocide, in particular, people identify genocides on the basis of whether an event is
suffi ciently similar to the Holocaust in what they take to be relevant respects. Thus
an overlapping but somewhat different set of historical events might have been seen
as genocidal if our prototype, instead of the Holocaust, had been, say, the Armenian
genocide of World War I

Consider, for example, the systematic extermination of the indigenous inhabitants
of Australia by Europeans and their descendants. Although today this is seen
by most Australians as regrettable, few label this genocide. Genocide means something
like the Holocaust, which means death camps. Tatz (1999) summarizes this
line of thinking thus: “Clearly there has been no Australian Auschwitz. Clearly, if
there was no Auschwitz here, then no genocide occurred here” (p. 316). Similarly,
although the European conquest of the Americas has involved deliberate mass killings
of countless millions of individuals and has eliminated hundreds of cultures on
two continents over more than fi ve centuries, the absence of death camps enables
the nations of the Americas to deny that they were founded on genocide and that, in
many cases, these genocides are still in progress

construal of genocide as the ultimate crime greatly raises the stakes with
regard to the identifi cation of genocides

A formal conception of genocide enhances our objectivity in identifying genocides
by setting forth an interrelated set of necessary and suffi cient conditions for something
to be identifi ed as genocidal. In comparison with a prototype-based conception
of genocide, a formal conception may make it more diffi cult to deny the genocidal
nature of a historical event

although useful
in constraining genocide denial, formal criteria overdifferentiate genocides from
other human rights catastrophes. This overdifferentiation of genocides from other
human rights catastrophes would be a threat to comprehension of important similarities
in any event, but is especially serious given the widespread sense that genocide
is the ultimate human rights catastrophe. If genocide is the ultimate crime, then
to say something is not genocidal is to suggest that it is less evil

Would distinctions between genocides and non-genocides be more defensible and
useful if we had a formal typology of catastrophic human rights violations?

Catastrophic violations of human rights nearly always
fall into multiple categories

With due allowance for the uniqueness of every historical event, we can and
should recognize a variety of general labels applicable to human rights catastrophes.
Such labels might include mass killing, cultural extermination, ethnic cleansing,
political disappearances, religious inquisition, programmatic torture, chattel
slavery, and, of course, genocide. But these categories, which are surely not exhaustive,
overlap in intricate ways

even if genocide is in some abstract sense the ultimate crime against a
social group, it does not follow that every genocide is morally worse than anything
that fails to qualify as genocide.

it is far from obvious that the Atlantic slave
trade is less evil than any genocide

even if we could agree on a defi nition of genocide and could be utterly
objective in applying it, actual human rights catastrophes, as we have seen, nearly
always spill across any set of conceptual categories (Jonassohn and Bjornson,
1998). Genocidal elements can be detected in many or most cases of mass killing

Genocide-based conceptions of human rights
catastrophes may provide useful insights but may also distort our vision.

formal conceptions are no panacea

With regard to genocide, a shift from Holocaust-based to
formal conceptions would, I have argued, represent major progress. In the long run,
however, what is most needed is a shift from the automatic application of fi xed conceptions
to the increasingly deliberate application and coordination of a variety of
justifi able conceptions

Coordination of multiple defi nitions
and taxonomies may enhance our understanding of complex realities that cannot
be subsumed adequately within any simple set of categories.

Personally, I fi nd Churchill’s case for this aspect of his defi nition convincing.
More important than recommending Churchill’s defi nition, however, I recommend
awareness of the options, arguments, evidence, and choices that led to Churchill’s
defi nition of genocide

Even if we classify ethnocide as a form of genocide,
for example, awareness of the choice we have made may help us remain aware
of the threat to conceptual clarity inherent in broad undifferentiated conceptions.

Rather than settle for a broad defi nition of genocide, we may choose (as Churchill
does) to create a typology within that defi nition that recaptures the distinctions others
have deemed important.

Correspondingly, adoption of a narrower conception of genocide that excludes
non-lethal ethnocides may lead us to ignore or minimize the signifi cance of events
that do not qualify as genocide. Consciousness of this choice and its potential consequences,
however, may direct our attention toward the similarities and interrelations
between ethnocide and genocide

In sum, although some defi nitions and typologies are more defensible and useful
than some others, thinking objectively about these matters is not just a matter of
choosing the correct conception. More important than this may be consciousness regarding
the nature and justifi ability of various conceptual options and the theoretical
and practical consequences of our choices among these options.

Our aim should be to foster
students’ ability to formulate, articulate, and justify defensible views of their own, and to act on the basis of those views.

The Holocaust, observes Flanzbaum (1999, p. 102), has attained a “cult-like status”
that “has been augmented by its use as a touchstone of victimization.” It “frequently
enters discussions of ethnicity by becoming a measuring stick against which all oppression
is compared.” Not only does this distort our understanding of genocide, it
distorts our understanding of oppression—not to mention our understanding of the
Holocaust itself. Through formal criteria and greater consciousness of our conceptualizations,
I have argued, we can better comprehend the nature and diversity of human
rights catastrophes.
This analysis, some might fear, has the potential to trivialize the Holocaust. To
acknowledge other genocides, however, is not to deny the horror of the genocide
that has most shocked the conscience of the world. Even if the Holocaust loses its
artifi cially induced special status, it remains what it has always been—a nightmare
reality of concentration, starvation, deportation, massacres, ethnic cleansing, slave
labor, industrialized mass killings, and deliberate group exterminations, a horror no
one will ever fully comprehend.

But now we know that there are many such horrors, that genocides and other
atrocities that defy easy comprehension have occurred all over the world throughout
the course of history and continue unabated (Chalk and Jonassohn, 1990; Charny,
1994; Chomsky, 1989; Churchill, 1997; Fein, 1993; Jonassohn and Bjornson, 1998;
Rummel, 1994). The Holocaust is both worse than we can ever imagine as well as a
small part of a much larger picture.
This is a terrifying vision. The conceptual constraints that restrict our thinking
about genocide and other mass atrocities are reinforced by emotional constraints
on facing horrors of this sort. Thus we readily reduce the myriad catastrophic violations
of human rights to genocide, reduce genocide to the Holocaust, and reduce the
Holocaust to a singular event of the past. Through such conceptualizations we contain
our initial horror within a righteous sense of moral resolve to see that nothing
like the Holocaust ever happens again.
But things like the Holocaust, whether or not we acknowledge them and whether
or not we have language to describe them, are happening all the time. It is not clear
how much we will ever face, much less teach, about this. What is clear is that our
conceptions in this area are grossly inadequate, and that greater consciousness of
our conceptualizations is critical for greater understanding.


Churchill (1997)

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” (p. 431).
Genocide, proposes Churchill,
means the destruction, entirely or in part, of any racial, ethnic, national, religious,
cultural, linguistic, political, economic, gender, or other human group, however such
groups maybe defi ned by the perpetrator

Churchill (1997) provides both a conventional and an empirical argument in support
of his case that what others call ethnocide should be construed as a form of
genocide. First, he argues that this is faithful to the Raphael Lemkin’s original conception
of genocide. Others have since narrowed that conception but, given the
term’s origin, it would not be a radical break with conventional usage to adopt a
broader conception. On the contrary, this would be a return to the original meaning
of the term.
Second, Churchill argues on empirical grounds that mass killings generally cooccur
with other forms of cultural extermination. Thus a distinction between genocide
and ethnocide, at least in our world, is not a distinction between two discrete
processes but rather between what are typically two aspects of a single process. This
does not make the distinction between genocide and ethnocide false but it does suggest
that such a distinction is artifi cial and misleading. Defi ning genocide to encompass
general processes of cultural extermination, including but not limited to mass
killings, is not the one true conceptualization but, given the evidence, it seems the
most useful.


Conceptual constraints on thinking about genocide - David Moshman 11/2001, disputes between scholars over genocide definition

Is genocide limited to actions taken against “national, ethnical, racial or religious”
groups, as specifi ed in the UN defi nition, or does it include actions against
political, economic, and other groups, as in the other four defi nitions?
• Is genocide limited to victims defi ned on the basis of objective group membership
(UN, Fein, Churchill) or group membership as perceived by the perpetrator
(Chalk and Jonassohn), or does it encompass a wider range of victims (Charny)?
• Is genocide limited to mass killing (Chalk and Jonassohn, Charny), does it include
some non-lethal means of group destruction (UN, Fein), or does it encompass
all means of cultural extermination (Churchill)?
• Is genocide limited to actions taken by governmental and quasi-governmental authorities
(Chalk and Jonassohn) or does it include actions by non-governmental
perpetrators (UN, Fein, Charny, Churchill).
• Is genocide limited to acts that are intended to destroy (UN, Fein, Chalk and
Jonassohn) or can genocides vary in their degree of intentionality (Charny,


Scott Straus (2001) Contested meanings and conflicting imperatives:
A conceptual analysis of genocide, Journal of Genocide Research

For my work, I see a broad and
important difference between genocides carried out during territorial invasion or
annexation and genocides carried out within societies. Thus, I would propose
only two sub-types of genocide. The Ž rst is colonial genocide. This type of
genocide is directly linked to colonization and generally is carried out against
prior inhabitants, or “indigenous” groups
This category draws on and includes Kuper’s sub-type of “against indigenous populations,” Charny’s sub-type of “in
the course of colonization, ” Chalk and Jonassohn’s sub-type of “to acquire
wealth,” Fein’s sub-type of “developmental,” and Smith’s sub-type of “utilitarian.” The second sub-type I propose is revolutionary genocide. This type of
genocide is directly linked to the planned and sustained internal transformation
of a society. In these cases, genocide is a method of violence to bring about the
desired radical change. The category partly draws on and incorporates the
various “ideology” sub-types as well as Harff and Gurr’s “hegemonial” genocide
and “revolutionary” politicid e sub-types. The category also is indebted to
Melson’s theoretical analysis.

despite inherent ambiguities, “genocide” is a useful social scientiŽ c concept that refers to a speciŽ c, even
exceptional, phenomenon. In establishing a deŽ nition for comparative analysis,
I have sought to center the deŽ nition on the genocidal actor, to retain genocide’s
etymological meaning as destruction of a genos, however Ž ctive, and to
synthesize the strengths of various pre-existing deŽ nitions. The result is a
restrictive deŽ nition to which relatively few cases in the twentieth century would
correspond.72 This deŽ nition excludes numerous cases of organized mass viol- ence, which together amount to a death toll even greater than that of genocide

To avoid ranking atrocities while maintaining speciŽ city, a crucial next step
is to develop an extensive conceptual vocabulary for mass violence.

. If “genocide” is to remain one concept among several, researchers might acknowl- edge that genocide is not necessarily morally worse than another type of mass

A vocabulary of violence can move in two directions. The Ž rst direction
would specify an umbrella concept that refers to a generic phenomenon of which
genocide is one instance. Genocide might be considered a sub-set of “democide,”
73 mass crime,74 mass death,75 mass violence, political violence, or
con ict. This point recognizes that genocide is ultimately a middle range
phenomenon that shares key aspects with other forms of violence, but is, nonetheless, importantly different and quite speciŽfic

A second direction would
be to develop a range of concepts that refer to other types of mass violence
(assuming “mass violence” is the umbrella notion). Some concepts already in use
include ethnocide, massacre, “partial genocide,” pogrom, politicide , and deport- ation. However, given the frequency with which violence characterizes politics,
research is in need of a fuller spectrum


Cultural Genocide, the Universal Declaration, and Minority Rights - Johannes Morsink 1999

This essay will show how in the late 1940s the drafting of the Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide' and of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights2 overlapped in a significant manner.
That overlap helps explain why neither of these documents directly
addresses the crime of cultural genocide. While they retained the original
title, the drafters of the Genocide Convention severely weakened the
prevention part of their goal when they cut out of their document the
prohibition and punishability of acts of cultural genocide. Such a prohibi
tion was part of the first draft of the Genocide Convention.3
During the drafting process, it was clear that the communist and Arab
delegations favored a cultural genocide article for the Genocide Convention
as well as a minority rights article for the Universal Declaration. However,
the nations from both Americas were wedded to their respective policies of
assimilation and, therefore, opposed both provisions.
In the end, the balance of the votes lay with the delegations from
Western Europe. Having witnessed Hitler's acts of ethnic cleansing first-hand, the Western delegates understood the connection between cultural
genocide and physical genocide, which the communist and Arab delegations were making. They argued, however, that the right place to make that
connection was in the Universal Declaration and not in the Genocide
Convention itself. Therefore, they voted to delete the cultural genocide
prohibition from the Convention on the promise that they would support a
similar measure for the Universal Declaration. However, when the time
came, they chose (for reasons having to do with the rhetoric and reality of
the Cold War) not to make good on those promissory notes. The breakup
between Stalin and Tito further weakened the pro-minority rights lobby.
Since the Cold War has ended and nations on both American continents
are becoming more nuanced in their approach towards members of
minority groups, this essay ends with an argument for the completion of the
Universal Declaration. Amending that document with a separate article on
the rights of members of religious, linguistic, and cultural minority groups
will allow us to address the greatest problem in international affairs today,
the treatment of members of minority groups and, at the same time, correct
and complete some of the work begun by the moral visionaries who, in the
late 1940s, shaped so much of the world in which we now