The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was signed in December 1948, and has been in force since January 1951. Article II of the convention defines genocide as ANY of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group. (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group. (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part. (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. (e) Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group. The United States ratified the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in 1987. For information on the conflicts that have been identified as genocide, please see the links to the right.
Genocides 1901-1951 German Southwest Africa 1904-1908: Genocide of Hereros Ottoman Turkey 1915-1923: Ittihad Genocide of Armenians and Assyrians USSR 1932-1934: Soviet Genocide/Famine in Ukraine (Holodomor) Nazi Occupied Europe 1941-1945: Genocide of Jews (Shoah/Holocaust) Nazi Occupied Europe 1941-1945: Genocide of Roma-Sinti (Parajmos) Genocides Since 1951 East Pakistan 1971: Genocide in East Bengal Burundi 1972: Selective Genocide of Hutus. Cambodia 1975-1979: Khmer Rouge "Killing Fields"and Genocide Guatemala 1981-83: Genocide in the Maya Highlands Iraq 1987-88: Anfal Campaign in Kurdistan Bosnia-Herzegovia 1992-1995: Serb "Etnicko Ciscenje" of Bosnian Muslims.
Rwanda 1994: Akazu "Hutu Power" Genocide of Tutsis
In the late-1980’s, the heterogeneous Yugoslav federation began to cleave along ethnic lines. Civil war erupted in 1992 against a backdrop of increasingly nationalist politics, including the idea of “Greater Serbia”. Between 1992 and 1995, Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks soldiers and paramilitaries used widespread use of rape, torture and forcible displacement against civilians. The actions of some Serb units were particularly heinous, featuring attempts to eliminate non-Serb culture, a tactic soon to be known as “ethnic cleansing”. Across Bosnia and Herzegovina civilians were herded into camps as small scale massacres were committed. The most notorious of these was the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, when more than 7,500 Bosniak men and boys in the U.N.-safe area, were executed by forces under General Radko Mladic. The estimates for the human cost of the Bosnian civil wars range from 96,000 to 200,000, with a recent University of Washington-Harvard University study placing the fatalities near 167,000. Violence against civilians in Yugoslavia led to the creation of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia in 1993. When? The Bosnian referendum for independence took place on April 6, 1992. That day, Serb militants opened fire on thousands of peaceful demonstrators in Sarajevo, killing at least five and wounding 30. One day later, Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic responded by blocking all roads leading to Sarajevo and shutting down the airport. About 400,000 Bosnian residents were trapped in the siege while being cut off from basic life necessities such as food, medicine, water, and electricity. Food shortage was a huge issue for those who managed to survive death by ammunition. An average Sarajevan lost 30 lbs during the siege (Donia 2006). In 1994, UN officials reported that 7,272 flights had brought in 81,948 tons of aid into Sarajevo via the humanitarian airlift. However, due to airport closings and airlift suspensions caused by shelling and sniping attacks in the area, this effort is often suspended (UN 1994). A number of tragic events took place during the siege. On June 1, 1993 at a soccer game, at least fifteen people were killed and 80 more were wounded as a result of a mortar attack. Red Cross trucks were raided and destroyed and maternity wards were hit, killing mothers and newborns alike. Many more were killed while in line for water. On February 29, 1996, the Bosnian government declared that the siege of Sarajevo was over but the scars still remain. By the end, its population had decreased by over 430,000. Not all of those people died though, many were able to escape via an 800-meter wood and iron tunnel. After opening in the summer of 1993, it was the only direct link Sarajevo had with the outside world. It was used to transport everything from weapons to wounded people. Other massacres included the Lasva Valley case (1991) where the first destruction of mosques and Bosnian homes, the first murders of civilians, and the first acts of pillage occurred. Around 2,000 community members disappeared or were killed at this time. The Ahatovici massacre of 1992 saw heavy shelling by the Bosnian Serb Army. Sixty-four males between 15 and 75 years of age were taken away and tortured. They were put on a bus after being told that they would be part of a prisoner exchange. The Serbs then fired on the bus with automatic weapons and threw grenades in. Eight of them survived by hiding under the dead bodies of the other fifty-six men. Another atrocity, where Bosnian men were told they were part of prisoner exchange, happened on Mount Vlasic in August 1992. 200 men were brought to the edge of a ravine at Koricani, shot and pushed over the 100-meter high cliff. Twelve victims survived by hanging on to the bushes and hiding in them but suffered further abuse while being treated for their wounds at the hospital.
The biggest conflict between Croats and the Bosnian government was the Ahmici massacre of Apri, 1993. No one was spared when the Croat forces shelled the Bosnian part of the village and destroyed two mosques as the youngest victim was a three-month-old baby boy who was machine-gunned to death in his crib. The oldest victim was a 96-year-old woman. They were two of the 120 estimated deaths that day. Between 1992 and 1994 in Foca, all Bosnians were expelled from the area. Some 2,704 people are missing or were killed during the massacres period. Additionally, Serb authorities set up locations – commonly described as rape camps – in which hundreds of women were raped. Aside from rape, the campaign against non-Serb civilians in the region also included ethnic cleansing, mass murder, and the deliberate destruction of Bosnian property and cultural sites. In the early evening hours of May 25, 1995, the Army of Republika Srpska shelled a gathering of young people in the city of Tuzla. 71 people were killed and more than 200 wounded. All of the victims were civilians and the majority was between the ages of 18-25. Three days later they were shelled from the same position. With many more massacres to name, the genocide lasted from Bosnia’s secession from Yugoslavia in 1990 to the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. In October, 1992, EU’s Lord David Owen and former I.S. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance proposed a draft constitution organizing Bosnia into a decentralized federation according to the “Vance-Owen” plan. Bosnian Serbs rejected this plan. Then in 1994, the United States decided to take on a more active role, seeking to back diplomacy with the threat of NATO air power in protecting safe areas and UN peacekeepers. That same year the US special envoy helped to reach a cease-fire between Bosnian Croats and Muslims. Shortly after, a five nation Contact Group (United States, Russia, Britain, France,a nd Germany) drafted the 51/49 territorial compromise that all sides eventually accepted. The Dayton Peace Agreement allotted 51% of the country to the Croat-Muslim Federation and 49% to Republika Srpska, or the Serb Republic. This took place from November 1 to November 21, 1995. The main participants from the region were Serbian President Slobodan Milosavic, Croatian President Franjo Tudman, and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, with Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed “Mo” Sacirbey. After its initiation in Dayton, Ohio, the full agreement was signed in Paris, France on December 14, 1995. Other politicians of importance that signed the document were French President Jacques Chirac, U.S. President Bill Clinton, UK Prime Minister John Major, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, and Russian Prime Minister Vikto Chernonmyrdin. Part of the agreement mandated international organizations to monitor, oversee, and implement crucial parts of the agreement. One of the major criticisms of this agreement, though, is that the current legal structure of the peace agreement does not follow some of the basic principles of international law, thus leaving the Bosnian territorial and political situation highly unstable and sensitive since 1995 when it was implemented. In 1996, SFOR (stabilization force) sent 20,000 American troops to prevent new hostilities. According to Richard Holbrooke, the chief architect of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the country would not have survived without the presence of the troops. Also, contrary to popular belief before their deployment, no lives have been lost among those peacekeepers. Who? Perpetrators Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia used public media in their respective domains and turned television and radio into effective propaganda tools that intensified tensions between Serbs and Croats while demonizing the Muslims. At the same time, they were suppressing independent media advocating for multi-ethnic coexistence. Milosevic, who is a declared war criminal, aimed at reviving dark memories of World War II, Ustasa’s (Croatian Nazi-like movement) killing of Serbs, Jews, and Gypsies. He did so by exhuming mass graves of Serbs and using those as proof that the Croats are enemies thus legitimizing his attacks on their lands.
Tudjman, who also carries the title of a declared war criminal, “rehabilitated” the genocidal Ustasha regime. He proposed that the new Croatian coat of arms look similar to the one used by Ustasha’s in WWII. He was even a proponent of renaming streets in Croatia after Ustasha leaders. Radovan Karadzic, president of the illegitimate Bosnian Serb Republic, joins the other two as a declared war criminal. Bosnian Serbs operated under his leadership but he denied their involvement in the genocide. The Serbian perpetrators came in primarily through Eastern and Northern Bosnia. The Serb paramilitary units crossed the rivers into Bijeljina and began a campaign of terror. Their use of force, intimidation, and provocation was aimed at partitioning Bosnia and displacing non-Serbs from mixed areas even if Serbs were a minority there. They murdered defenseless civilians and drove the rest from their homes and businesses, which were then looted and destroyed. All sides of the conflict committed the so-called “ethnic cleansing” but the scale and intensity at which the Serbs did it made it a clear genocide against Musims. Serbs were specifically targeting intellectuals, professionals, and political leaders in an attempt to eradicate the Bosnian Muslim culture. The UN Genocide Convention, in its definition of genocide, considers this an integral part of a crime on a specific ethnic group. Victims The massacre, which occurred in Srebrenica in July of 1995, was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II. The town was surrounded by Serb-controlled territory but was declared a UN “safe area” thus promising the residents protection from Serb terror. Serb authorities refused the UN permission to deliver food, medical supplies, and other humanitarian necessities to those in Srebrenica. Not only were the residents lacking supplies, but the town was also swollen with “cleansed” refugees from the surrounding area. Beginning on July 12, 1995, over 20,000 Bosnian women, children, and elderly were bussed out ot the front line to Muslim-controlled territory. They were separated from their men and boys who were taken by buses to execution sites where they were mowed down by automatic weapons and machine guns. All in all, 8,000 Bosnian males from Srebrenica were systematically slaughtered in this carefully planned operation. They were then hauled to mass graves. Of the female victims of genocide, the vast majority were Muslim men who took orders from Serb authorities were sometimes told to impregnate the women as a means of destroying the Bosnian Muslim people. Women and young girls were subject to rape in front of their own parents and family members. These atrocities happened in their homes when the paramilitary units attacked their towns. Gang rape was also common and in some camps, women were held captive for use as sex slaves. How? The Yugoslav leader, Josip Broz Tito, died in 1980. This allowed Slobodan Milosevic, who became Serbia’s leader in 1987, to also become the leader of Yugoslavia. With the power that he had, Milosevic encouraged Serb nationalism in other Yugoslav states such as Bosnia. This resulted in secret concentration, mass killings, as well as destruction of Muslim mosques and historic architechture. Despite media reports of this, the world community remained mostly indifferent. Serb-run camps in Northern Bosnia were symbolic of all that is inhumane. People were pressed tightly into barracks and deprived of basic life necessities. Sadly, most resorted to quenching their thirst with excretion. Not every one of the 14,000 Muslim men in the camps of Northern Bosnia was marked for death (as was seen in the Holocaust) but due to the poor living conditions in those camps, over 10,000 died anyways. U.S. officials became aware of these concentration camps as early as May of 1992, but this did not prevent any of the 677 detention centers or camps to stop incarcerating people. The worst of the camps was Omarska. Here, thousands of civilian men, both Muslim and Croat, were held in metal cages and killed in group of ten to fifteen every few days. Serbs denied access to all those who wanted to investigate their camps, including relief officials and journalists. As
in the Holocaust, the Serbs wanted to hide what was happening. Brutality included grinding Muslim bodies into animal, among other atrocities. Bosnians and Croats held Serbs in similar camps, but similar violence was not committed. In a 1993 UN document, it is reported that by late summer of 1993, 62 Serbs had died in Croat concentration camps. This number is significantly lower than the number of deaths on the other two sides, but it is still important to note that Serbs experience violence and death as well. Eventually, the United Nations deployed troops to protect the distribution of food and medicine to dispossessed Muslims. However, the troops were not allowed to interfere militarily against the Serbs, even though the U.N. could eerily predict when each town or village was going to fall. Throughout 1993, confident that the U.N., United States, and the European Community would not take any military action, Serbs in Bosnia freely committed genocide against Muslims. On February 6, 1994, a plea was finally made to then-president Bill Clinton for military intervention against the Serbs after a mortar shell struck a marketplace in Sarjevo, killing 68 and wounding over 200 people. Clinton reacted by issuing an ultimatum through NATO, demanding that Serbs withdraw their artillery from Sarajevo. The Serbs compiled and a cease-fire was declared. That did not stop the Serbs from continuing the genocide. They attacked safe havens as well as the U.N. peacekeepers. NATO’s response was to launch limited air strikes against Serbs’ ground positions, but that did not prevent the massacre in Srebrenica from happening. The Aftermath Following the genocide, Srebrenica was re-inhabited by Serbs who moved in to occupy the Muslims’ homes. These Serbs were refugees themselves and were forced out of their homes by the Muslim and the Croat units. There is not much appeal left for those who were even considering going back to Srebrenica because their homes have been destroyed, there are no jobs, little water, and few supplies to go around. Clearly, people have not yet recovered from internal displacement, let alone international re-settlement. Most places in the countryside are littered and in ruins, much like Srebrenica. Hundreds of thousands of those Bosnians who fled violence have not yet returned and one of the reasons for that is the high rate of unemployment that awaits them. Because most of the educated people are leaving for better opportunities and more promising futures abroad, this is causing a “brain drain” in Bosnia that further weakens any prospects for economic and socail recovery in the region. While most criminals remain at large, trials were prepared for the following war criminals: Radocan Karadzic, Slobodan Milosevic, and Ratko Mladic. Radovan Karadzic is charged with a wide range of crimes, from genocide to crimes against humanity to grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions. The formal ccharge of 1995 was for administering the killing of thousands of people by sniping and shelling in the siege of Sarajevo, and later for the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 men and boys. He was arrested in Belgrade after being on the run for 13 years. Slobodan Milosevic was indicted in May, 1999, but was found dead in his cell at The Hague on March 11, 2006. Therefore, his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity has ended without a verdict. Serbian war criminal Ratko Mladic has been indicted with genocide, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts, and other crimes against Bosnian civilians, committed during the 19921995 Serbian aggression against Bosnia. A fugitive from the ICTY, he is suspected to be hidning either in Serbia or in Bosnia’s Republika Srpska. Pressure has been put on Serbia to hand him over to the court by halting negotiations with the EU regarding membership.
Currently, Bosnia is largely peaceful and troops are finally pulling out. Regardless, relations between the two newly created entities of Bosnia and Republika Srpska (Serb Republic) are still strained and cooperation is minimal at best. *Majra Mucic of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies researched and wrote this description. CHGS is a partner of World Without Genocide. Timeline:
UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed the current accepted definition of genocide 1951 Definition of genocide is in force 1980s Milosevic expanded his power base and promoted Serbian nationalism 1991 Breakup of Yugoslavia into Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and two autonomous provinces within Serbia: Kosovo and Vojvodina 1991 Lasva Valley case 1/1992 Serbs retaliate against Bosnia: declare Serbian Republic of Bosnia 4/1992 Bosnia’s independence recognized by EC and United States and war broke out two days later on April 8, 1992 1992 Reports of “ethnic cleansing,” concentration camps, mass rapes 1992 Ahatovici massacre (56 dead) 4/1992 Siege of Sarajevo begins 8/1992 Shocking pictures of emaciated Muslims being held in Omarska camp 8/1992 Mount Vlacis massacre – “prisoner exchange” (200 dead) 92-93 Gas, water and electricity service are at best sporadic in Sarajevo 4/1993 The U.N. Security Council declares six “safe areas” for Bosnian Muslims: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Bihac, Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde 1993 Sarajevo tunnel opens 4/1993 Ahmici massacre – two mosques destroyed (120 dead) 6/1993 Mortar attack at a soccer game in Sarajevo (15 killed, 80 wounded) 2/1994 NATO jets shoot down four Serb aircraft over central Bosnia; marks alliance’s first use of force since it was founded in 1949. 2/1994 Mortar attack at a marketplace in Sarajevo (68 dead, 200 wounded) 3/1994 US-arranged peace accord is signed by Bosnian Muslims and Croats 1992-1994 Foca massacres– rape camps, destruction of cultural sites and Bosnian property (2,704 missing or killed) 1994 Bihac is shelled and bombed relentlessly. NATO “strikes back” and bombs the runways in the Serb held airport in
3/1995 5/1995 5/1995 6/1995 7/1995
9/1995 12/1995 12/1995 2/1996 1996 1996 1998 1999 8/2001
6/2006 2006 2/2007 7/2008
Krajina from which bombing raids are flown. Serbs hold over 300 UN troops hostage against further air raids. 1000th day of the siege of Sarajevo United Nations tribunal on human rights violation in the Balkans charges 21 Bosnian Serb commanders with genocide and crimes against humanity. This action marks the first time that a Western political body openly charged Serbs with genocide. CIA report completed earlier in the year has concluded that 90% of the acts of “ethnic cleansing” were carried out by Serbs Serbs ignore a U.N. order to remove heavy weapons from Sarajevo; NATO aircraft attack a Serb ammunition depot. In retaliation, Serbs begin shelling Muslim safe areas. Tuzla shelling (71 killed, 200 wounded). Happened again three days later. Serbs seize Srebrenica and Zepa Srebrenica massacre – largest massacre in Europe since World War II (20,000 Bosnian women, children and elderly bussed out; 8,000 boys and men systematically slaughtered and placed in mass graves) Foreign ministers of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia agree to divide Bosnia into Serb and Muslim-Croat entities. First official NATO peacekeeping troops arrive in Sarajevo along with some other 13,000 American soldiers Peace agreement signed in Paris Siege of Sarajevo ends The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia begins work in the Hague SFOR sent 20,000 American peacekeeping troops to Bosnia The first Bosnian Muslims and Croats are convicted of war crimes in the Hague. Slobodan Milosevic indicted Hague war crimes tribunal finds Bosnian Serb Gen. Radislav Krstic guilty of genocide for his role in the massacre of thousands of men and boys in Srebrenica. Krstic sentenced to 46 years. Largest war crimes trial to date over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre opens at the UN tribunal in the Hague Slobodan Milosevic found dead in his cell at The Hague – trial ended without a verdict The International Court of Justice rules that the 1995 Srebrenica massacre constituted genocide, but clears Serbia of direct responsibility. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, wanted on war crimes charges, has been arrested in Belgrade after nearly 13 years on the run
Genocide in Bosnia
The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, signed in December 1948, and in force from January 1951, provides the current accepted definition: Article II In the present Convention, genocide means ANY of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
Genocide Definition What happened in Bosnia (a) Killing members of the group 200,000 lives were lost in the time period between 1992 and 1995 (b) Causing serious bodily or Concentration camps, mass mental harm to members of the executions, and rape were widely group used (c) Deliberately inflicting on the Serbs prevented entry of aid to group conditions of life calculated cities like Srebrenica where to bring about its physical residents needed food and destruction in whole or in part medical services (d) Imposing measures intended Men and women were separated to prevent births within the group to be killed and raped respectively; Serb forces impregnated Muslim women to make them have Serb children (e) Forcibly transferring children The forgotten “rape babies” do of the group to another group not exist in the eyes of the law and are unacknowledged by their families. Most grow-up in a staterun orphanage in Zenica, a rundown building with broken windows. According to Gregory H. Stanton, the President of Genocide Watch, “Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The later stages must be preceded by the earlier stages, though earlier stages continue to operate throughout the process” (1998). While the first stages precede the later stages, they stay in effect throughout the genocidal operation. They are all reinforced by each other and a strategy aimed at prevention should target each stage. The eight stages are classification, symbolization, dehumanization, organization, polarization, preparation, extermination, and denial.In the following table we see the 8 stages of the BOSNIAN GENOCIDE and the fact that no preventative or reactionary steps were taken by anyone. 8 STAGES OF GENOCIDE WHAT CAN BE DONE? WHAT WAS DONE IN BOSNIA 1. Classification:Us versus them Prevention:Develop Institutions for unification based on ethnicity, race, religion, universalistic institutions that were unsuccessful because or nationality transcend ethnic or racial people joined nationalistic
political parties out of fear and memory of the 1945 war 2. Symbolization:Does not result Prevention:Legally outlaw Bosnia had a law banning in genocide unless it leads to symbols and provide support nationalistic symbols, but dehumanization through pop-culture after Yugoslavia fell apart, there was no way of controlling that. The main symbols that were used were religiously affiliated – cross or the crescent moon and star. 3. Dehumanization:Equating “the Prevention:Make hate speech Hate speech was seen as a others” with animals, insects, or unacceptable, ban hate natural reaction. It diseases until it overcomes propaganda, shut down hate reaffirmed the opposition normal human revulsion against radio stations, and punish of the ethnic groups. The murder politically controlled media produced not only hate speech but also lied about what was going on at the time. The news networks remain nationalistic to this day. 4. Organization:Trained and Prevention:Outlaw membership Serb tactics in different armed army unites and militias in these militias, impose arms cities were all the same, make plans of genocide embargos and investigate suggesting that the ethnic violations cleansing and military attacks were pre-planned and highly organized. 5. Polarization:Laws may forbid Prevention:Security protection There were no other strong intermarriage or social for moderate leaders because thepolitical figures at that time interaction moderates in perpetrators’ group who could organize people are the ones who are most able behind them in a unifying to stop genocide and moderate way. The factions were too polarized as a result of the charismatic leaders. 6. Preparation:Victims are Reaction:Declare Genocide Early on, international segregated and deported into Emergency and prepare humanitarians did not try concentration camps; starved international intervention; to organize refugee camps. organize humanitarian Bosnians were forcibly assistance for the tide of displaced in large numbers refugees to come with no safe places to go. Concentration camps were prepared and more than 19,000 non-Serbs (mostly Bosnians) were interned in these Omarska, Keraterm, Manjaca, and Trnopolje Camps.
divisions, unify, and promote tolerance and understanding
7. Extermination:Mass killings of Reaction:Rapid armed dehumanized victims intervention; establishment of safe areas and escape corridors for refugees with heavily armed international protection
8. Denial (follows):Dig up graves, burn bodies, cover up evidence; sure indicator of further genocidal massacre
The largest mass killing occurred in Srebrenica, which was declared a safe area by the UN and experienced a mass killing of 8,000 men and boys. The aggressors had no troubles attacking even with UN troops there. Reaction:Punishment by the Mass graves were moved, international tribunal or national making it very difficult to courts prove what happened and to identify the bodies. Some war criminals were prosecuted in The Hague but others are still at large.
Beginning in 1915, ethnic Armenians living in the Ottoman empire were rounded up, deported and executed on orders of the government. The combination of massacres, forced deportation marches and concentration camp deaths due to disease is estimated to have resulted in the deaths of more than 1 million ethnic Armenians and Assyrians between 1915 and 1923. What? Known also as the “Armenian Holocaust,” the “Great Calamity,” and the “Armenian Massacres,” the Armenian Genocide refers to the forced deportation and massacre of between 500,000, to 1.5 million Armenians during the First World War, in the Anatolian region of the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). Where? The Ottoman Empire had existed in the Balkan region of the Middle East from 1300-1923. In the sixteenth century, the Ottoman conquest of Armenia and Cilicia brought the vast majority of the Armenian population under Ottoman rule. During the time of the genocide, the Ottoman Empire bordered Bulgaria and Greece in the west, the Mediterranean Sea in the south and southwest, the Black Sea in the North, Iraq and Syria in the Southwest, and the Russian empire in the East and Northeast. The topography of the region features a high central plateau (Anatolia), a narrow coastal plain, and several mountain ranges. The climate is hot and dry, with mild, wet winters. When? Concurrent with the Muslim dhimmi system, Armenians, as Christians, had always been treated as second-class citizens in the Ottoman Empire. Armenians were allowed the freedom to practice their faith; however, mass persecution of Armenian citizens was a regular occurrence. Moreover, the Armenians were often blamed for misfortunes which befell the Ottoman Empire. Many times, this resulted in rioting, burning of Armenian property, rape,
and mass killing. Despite the history of Armenian demise in Anatolia, April 24, 1915, is commemorated as the official date for the unfolding of the “Armenian Genocide.” The bulk of the killing was carried during World War I, between the years of 1915 and 1918. The end of World War I in 1918 brought about a brief lull in the massacres- they could no longer be carried out under war-time concealment, and the world had been made aware to the Ottoman atrocities. However, after little more than a year of calm, the killings were renewed between 1920 and 1923 when the fledgling Armenian Republic was destroyed by a reinvigorated Turkish nationalist movement. The killings ended in 1923 when the newly founded Republic of Turkey was virtually free of all Armenians, and laws were enacted to prevent displaced Armenians from returning to their former homes. Who? Perpetrators The “Young Turks” were a reformist and nationalist party, founded in the latter part of the 19th century, which became the dominant political party in Turkey during the period from 1908 to 1918. In 1908, the Young Turk Revolution deposed the previously ruling Ottoman monarchy of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and as a result, brought about the gradual creation of a new governing elite, which had established its control over the Ottoman civil and military administration by 1913. It was also during this time that the Young Turks began to base their nationalist ideology on the new, pseudo-scientific race theories of Europe; the term “Ottoman” was to be replaced with “Turk.” What this meant for the Armenians, among other ethnic minorities in the Anatolian region, was that they were ethnically inferior to the superior Turkish race – much like the “inferior” Jews and gypsies in Nazi Germany. “The Three Pashas”, also known as the “dictatorial triumvirate,” were the dominant political figures of Ottoman Turkey during World War I. Following the war, the Pashas were held responsible for involving Turkey in the War, and the Armenian massacres were rendered as a consequence of their corruption. All three were tried in the Turkish Courts-Martial of 1919-20 and sentenced to death. However, the revival of Armenian killing in 1920 due to Greek insurgencies, suggests that the Armenian genocide was more reliant on widespread panTurkic ethnic and religious nationalism, rather than the responsibility of just a few individuals. Victims The Armenians are an ancient people that have lived on the Armenian Plateau for more than 4,000 years. The Armenian homeland is located on the Armenian plateau, central and eastern Anatolia and southwestern Caucasia-in the highlands above Greater Syria and Mesopotamia to the south. Their continual presence in the Ottoman Empire came to an abrupt end when the Young Turk regime targeted the Armenians for their non-Turkic ethnicity, their Christian faith, and their alleged affiliation with Russia, the sworn enemy of the Ottoman Empire. As a result, the majority of the Armenian people were either killed outright or “ethnically cleansed” (removed by force) from their ancestral homeland; others escaped to neighboring countries, or remained in the newly established Soviet Republic of Armenia. According to the same pan-Turkic, nationalist ideology, ethnic Greeks and Assyrians were also targeted and massacred in the genocide. How?
By 1914, Ottoman authorities had created an empire-wide propaganda piece in which Armenians were presented as backstabbers of Ottoman Nationalism, in league with the Russians, and a threat to state security. On the night of April 24, 1915, Ottoman authorities arrested 250 Armenian leaders and intellectuals at Constantinople. The Armenian people had no leadership, no governmental representation, and were left without defense to the Ottoman Turks. From May to September, 1915, legislations were enacted to discharge all Armenians from military service, to deport Armenian citizens out of the Anatolian region, and to sanction government confiscation of all Armenian land and property. The Ottoman military removed Armenians from their homes and forced them to march for hundreds of miles, without food or water, to the desert of modern-day Syria. Hundreds of thousands of people died on these forced marches. People were massacred indiscriminately: men and women, old and young. Mass shootings occurred at random. Pillaging, persecution, torture, rape and other sexual abuses were commonplace. Winston Churchill tactfully defined the massacres as an “administrative holocaust” when he said, “…the clearance of (The Armenian) race from Asia Minor was about as complete as such an act could be… There is no reason to doubt that this crime was planned and executed for political reasons. The opportunity presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race opposed to all Turkish ambitions.” Hundreds of eyewitnesses, including government representatives of the United States, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, recorded and documented the state-sponsored massacres. Many foreign officials spoke out for the sake of the Armenians, including Pope Benedict XV, whose claims were rejected and denied by the Ottoman administration. The massacres continued under the cover of World War I, until the Ottoman Empire finally collapsed on October 30, 1918. Despite international awareness, an armed intervention to stop the genocide never occurred. The Aftermath Contemporary scholars estimate that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the genocide. There were also thousands of displaced Armenians, along with approximately 500,000 Assyrian deaths, and 350,000 Anatolian Greek deaths. The displaced survivors were largely unable to return to their former homes, as their land and property now belonged to the new Turkish government, or the Soviet state of Armenia. The “Armenian Diaspora” is the most visible, contemporary effect of this disaster; of the estimated 9 million Armenians worldwide, almost 8 million live outside of the Armenian homeland in Anatolia. As the first genocide of the 20th Century, the Armenian Genocide served as a measuring stick for other instances of mass atrocity to come. Less than a decade later, The Armenian Genocide influenced Adolf Hitler- he often made references to the Ottoman onslaught. In a speech given prior to his invasion of Poland in 1939, Hitler said the following: I have issued the command — and I’ll have anybody who utters but one word of criticism executed by a firing squad — that our war aim does not consist in reaching certain lines, but in the physical destruction of the enemy. Accordingly, I have placed my death-head formation in readiness — for the present only in the East — with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need. Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?
Polish- Jewish professor Raphael Lemkin, who coined the term “genocide” in 1943, has claimed that he did so with the massacre of the Armenians in mind. Based on the actions of the Young Turks, Lemkin’s definition of genocide is still widely used in contemporary scholarship and Human Rights. To this day, The Republic of Turkey’s official stance is that the deaths of Armenians during their “relocation” cannot accurately be deemed as “genocide,” essentially denying the intentional nature of the atrocities. This denial has dramatically hindered Turkish foreign relations, and is currently a leading factor in Turkey’s restriction from the European Union. Most scholars around the world acknowledge that the tragedy was, indeed, genocide.
When the Khmer Rouge took control of the Cambodian government in 1975, they declared the beginning of a new age dedicated to a peasant-oriented society. After outlawing education, religion, healthcare and technology, the Khmer Rouge ordered the evacuation of Cambodia’s cities and forced these residents to labor without adequate food or rest. At the same time as summarily executing those who were unable to keep up, the Khmer Rouge began to target suspected political dissidents. These citizens, including doctors, teachers and those suspected of being educated were singled out for torture at the notorious Tuol Sleng prison. In four years, between 1.7 and 2 million Cambodians died in the Khmer Rouge’s ‘Killing Fields’. What? The Cambodian Genocide refers to the attempt of Khmer Rouge party leader “Pol Pot” to nationalize and centralize the peasant farming society of Cambodia virtually overnight, in accordance with the Chinese Communist agricultural model. This resulted in the gradual devastation of over 25% of the country’s population in just three short years. Where? Cambodia, a country in South East Asia, is less than half the size of California, with its present day capital in Phnom Penh. In 1953 Cambodia gained its independence from France, after nearly 100 years of colonialist rule. As the Vietnam War progressed, Cambodia’s elected Prime Minister Norodom Sihanouk adopted an official policy of neutrality. Sihanouk was ousted in 1970 by a military coup led by his own Cambodian General Lon Nol, a testament to the turbulent political climate of Southeast Asia during this time. In the years preceding the genocide, the population of Cambodia was just over 7 million, almost all of whom were Buddhists. The country borders Thailand to its west and northwest, Laos to its northeast, and Vietnam to its east and southeast. The south and southwest borders of Cambodia are coastal shorelines on the Gulf of Thailand. When? The actions of the Khmer Rouge government which actually constitute “genocide” began shortly after their seizure of power from the government of Lon Nol in 1975, and lasted until the Khmer Rouge overthrow by the Vietnamese in 1978. However, the genocide itself, and other mass losses of Cambodian lives, emanated from a harsh climate of political and social turmoil. This atmosphere of communal unrest in Cambodia arose during the French
decolonization of South East Asia in the early 1950s, and continued to devastate the region until the late 1980s. Who? Perpetrators The Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement, founded in 1960, was considerably undermanned in its early days. The movement’s leader, Pol Pot, had been educated in France and was an admirer of “Mao” (Chinese) communism- Pol Pot envisioned the creation of a “new” Cambodia based on the Maoist-Communist model. The aim of the Khmer Rouge was to deconstruct Cambodia back a primitive “Year Zero,” wherein all citizens would participate in rural work projects, and any Western innovations would be removed. Pol Pot brought in Chinese training tactics and Viet Cong support for his troops, and was soon successful in producing a formidable military force. In 1970, the Khmer Rouge went to civil war with the U.S. backed “Khmer Republic,” under lieutenant-general Lon Nol. Lon Nol’s government had assumed a pro-Western, anti-Communist stance, and demanded the withdrawal of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces from Cambodia. The Khmer Rouge guerillas were finally successful in deposing Lon Nol’s government in 1975. Under Pol Pot’s leadership, and within days of overthrowing the government, the Khmer Rouge embarked on an organized mission: they ruthlessly imposed an extremist program to reconstruct Cambodia on the communist model of Mao’s China. It was these extremist policies which led to the Cambodian genocide. Victims In order to achieve the “ideal” communist model, the Khmer Rouge believed that all Cambodians must be made to work as laborer in one huge federation of collective farms; anyone in opposition to this system must be eliminated. This list of “potential opposition” included, but was not limited to, intellectuals, educated people, professionals, monks, religious enthusiasts, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, ethnic Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Cambodians with Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai ancestry. The Khmer Rouge also vigorously interrogated its own membership, and frequently executed members on suspicions of treachery or sabotage. Survival in Khmer Rouge Cambodia was determined by one’s ability to work. Therefore, Cambodia’s elderly, handicapped, ill, and children suffered enormous casualties for their inability to perform unceasing physical labor on a daily basis. How? At the onset of the Cambodian civil war in 1970, the neighboring country of Vietnam was simultaneously engaged in a bitter civil war between the communist North Vietnamese, and the U.S. backed South Vietnamese. Under the Khmer Republic of Lon Nol, Cambodia became a battlefield of the Vietnam War; it harbored U.S. troops, airbases, barracks, and weapons caches. Prior to the Lon Nol government, Cambodia had maintained neutrality in the Vietnamese civil war, and had given equal support to both opposing sides. However, when the Lon Nol government took control of Cambodia, U.S. troops felt free to move into Cambodia to continue their struggle with the Viet Cong. As many as 750,000 Cambodians died over the years 1970-1974, from American B-52 bombers, using napalm and dart clusterbombs to destroy suspected Viet Cong targets in Cambodia. The heavy American bombardment, and Lon Nol’s collaboration with America, drove new recruits to Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge guerilla movement. Many Cambodians had become disenchanted with western
democracy due to the huge loss of Cambodian lives, resulting from the U.S.’s involving Cambodia in the war with Vietnam. Pol Pot’s communism brought with it images of new hope, promise, and national tranquility for Cambodia. By 1975, Pol Pot’s force had grown to over 700,000 men. Within days of the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in 1975, Pol Pot had put into motion his extremist policies of collectivization (the government confiscation and control of all properties) and communal labor. Under threat of death, Cambodians nationwide were forced from their hometowns and villages. The ill, disabled, old and young who were incapable of making the journey to the collectivized farms and labor camps were killed on the spot. People who refused to leave were killed, along with any who appeared to be in opposition to the new regime. In this manner, entire cities were emptied of all their populations. All political and civil rights of the citizen were abolished. Children were taken from their parents and placed in separate forced labor camps. Factories, schools, universities, hospitals, and all other private institutions were shut down; all their former owners and employees were murdered, along with their extended families. Religion was also banned: leading Buddhist monks and Christian missionaries were killed, and temples and churches were burned. While racist sentiments did exist within the Khmer Rouge, most of the killing was inspired by the extremist propaganda of a militant communist transformation. It was common for people to be shot for speaking a foreign language, wearing glasses, smiling, or crying. One Khmer slogan best illuminates Pol Pot’s ideology: “To spare you is no profit, to destroy you is no loss.” Cambodians who survived the purges and marches became unpaid laborers, working on minimum rations for endless hours. They were forced to live in public communes, similar to military barracks, with constant food shortages and diseases running rampant. Due to conditions of virtual slave labor, starvation, physical injury, and illness, many Cambodians became incapable of performing physical work and were killed off by the Khmer Rouge as expenses to the system. These conditions of genocide continued for three years until Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978 and ousted the Khmer Rouge government. To this point, civilian deaths totaled well over 2 million. The Aftermath Cambodia lay in ruins under the newly-established Vietnamese regime. The economy had failed under Pol Pot, and all professionals, engineers, technicians and planners who could potentially reorganize Cambodia had been killed in the genocide. Since Cambodia had now fallen under Vietnamese (Communist) control, foreign relief aid from any western, democratic state was unlikely. Throughout the 1980s, the U.S. and U.K. instead offered financial and military support to the Khmer Rouge forces in exile, who had now sworn opposition to Vietnam and communism. The Vietnamese occupation and the continual threat of Khmer Rouge guerilla forces preserved Cambodia in underdeveloped and prehistoric conditions- until Vietnam’s eventual withdrawal in 1989. In the following military conflicts of 1978-1989, an additional 14,000 Cambodian civilians perished. In 1991, a peace agreement was finally reached, and Buddhism was reinstated as the official state religion. The nation’s first true democratic elections were held in 1993. On July 25, 1983, the “Research Committee on Pol Pot’s Genocidal Regime” issued its final report, including detailed province-by-province data. Among other things, their data showed that 3,314,768 people lost their lives in the “Pol Pot time.” Beginning in 1995, mass graves were uncovered throughout Cambodia. Bringing the perpetrators to justice, however, has proved to be a difficult task. The UN called for a Khmer Rouge Tribunal in 1994; the trials finally began in November of 2007,
and are expected to continue through 2010. Many suspected perpetrators were killed in the military struggle with Vietnam or eliminated as internal threats to the Khmer Rouge itself. In 1997, Pol Pot himself was arrested by Khmer Rouge members; a “mock” trial was staged and Pol Pot was found guilty. He died of natural causes in 1998. The last members of the Khmer Rouge were officially disbanded in 1999. Currently, the state of affairs in Cambodia is relatively tranquil. Today, Cambodia’s main industries are fabrics and tourism; foreign visitors to Cambodia surpassed 1.7 million in 2006. However, the BBC reports that corruption remains a serious issue in Cambodian politics. International aid from the U.S. and other countries is often embezzled by bureaucrats into their private accounts. This illegal seizure of foreign aid has greatly added to the widespread income disparity which affects most Cambodian citizens today.
After coming to power in 1933 on the basis of providing an ethnic and political scapegoat for Germany’s post-World War I problems , the Nazi Party implemented a highly organized strategy of the persecution and murder of “undesireables” including Jews, Slavs, Roma, the disabled, Jehovah’s Witnessess, homosexuals, as well as political and religious dissidents. The Nazis promulgation of the Nuremburg Laws stripped citizenship from German Jews on the basis of their religious identity. Shortly thereafter, in November 1938, the organized pogrom of Kristallnacht signaled a change in policy, featuring the mass deportations of German Jews to concentration camps. As the Nazis conquered large areas of Europe, Jews and other undesirables across Nazi-controlled areas were similarly deported. When the German Army invaded the Soviet Union, it soon gave rise to Einsatzgruppen, mobile killing squads operating throughout Eastern Europe and Russia, killing more than one million Jews and tens of thousands of other civilians. In 1942, a conference at Wansee developed the Final Solution to the Jewish Question, the systematic extermination of European Jewry. The construction of extermination camps at Auschwitz-Birkanau, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno and Sobibor enabled the Nazis to kill 2.7 million Jews and other “undesirables” through the use of cyanide gas, summary executions and medical experimentation. Poor living conditions in non-extermination camps led to the deaths of millions more. It is estimated that 6 million Jews, two out of every three living in Europe, and another 5 million undesirables were killed by 1945. The Holocaust was the systematic, bureaucratic, state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. "Holocaust" is a word of Greek origin meaning "sacrifice by fire." The Nazis, who came to power in Germany in January 1933, believed that Germans were "racially superior" and that the Jews, deemed "inferior," were an alien threat to the so-called German racial community. During the era of the Holocaust, German authorities also targeted other groups because of their perceived "racial inferiority": Roma (Gypsies), the disabled, and some of the Slavic peoples (Poles, Russians, and others). Other groups were persecuted on political, ideological, and behavioral grounds, among them Communists, Socialists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and homosexuals. In 1933, the Jewish population of Europe stood at over nine million. Most European Jews lived in countries that Nazi Germany would occupy or influence during World War II. By 1945, the Germans and their collaborators killed nearly two out of every three European Jews
as part of the "Final Solution," the Nazi policy to murder the Jews of Europe. Although Jews, whom the Nazis deemed a priority danger to Germany, were the primary victims of Nazi racism, other victims included some 200,000 Roma (Gypsies). At least 200,000 mentally or physically disabled patients, mainly Germans, living in institutional settings, were murdered in the so-called Euthanasia Program. As Nazi tyranny spread across Europe, the Germans and their collaborators persecuted and murdered millions of other people. Between two and three million Soviet prisoners of war were murdered or died of starvation, disease, neglect, or maltreatment. The Germans targeted the non-Jewish Polish intelligentsia for killing, and deported millions of Polish and Soviet civilians for forced labor in Germany or in occupied Poland, where these individuals worked and often died under deplorable conditions. From the earliest years of the Nazi regime, German authorities persecuted homosexuals and others whose behavior did not match prescribed social norms. German police officials targeted thousands of political opponents (including Communists, Socialists, and trade unionists) and religious dissidents (such as Jehovah's Witnesses). Many of these individuals died as a result of incarceration and maltreatment. In the early years of the Nazi regime, the National Socialist government established concentration camps to detain real and imagined political and ideological opponents. Increasingly in the years before the outbreak of war, SS and police officials incarcerated Jews, Roma, and other victims of ethnic and racial hatred in these camps. To concentrate and monitor the Jewish population as well as to facilitate later deportation of the Jews, the Germans and their collaborators created ghettos, transit camps, and forced-labor camps for Jews during the war years. The German authorities also established numerous forced-labor camps, both in the so-called Greater German Reich and in German-occupied territory, for non-Jews whose labor the Germans sought to exploit. Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units) and, later, militarized battalions of Order Police officials, moved behind German lines to carry out mass-murder operations against Jews, Roma, and Soviet state and Communist Party officials. German SS and police units, supported by units of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, murdered more than a million Jewish men, women, and children, and hundreds of thousands of others. Between 1941 and 1944, Nazi German authorities deported millions of Jews from Germany, from occupied territories, and from the countries of many of its Axis allies to ghettos and to killing centers, often called extermination camps, where they were murdered in specially developed gassing facilities. In the final months of the war, SS guards moved camp inmates by train or on forced marches, often called “death marches,” in an attempt to prevent the Allied liberation of large numbers of prisoners. As Allied forces moved across Europe in a series of offensives against Germany, they began to encounter and liberate concentration camp prisoners, as well as prisoners en route by forced march from one camp to another. The marches continued until May 7, 1945, the day the German armed forces surrendered unconditionally to the Allies. For the western Allies, World War II officially ended in Europe on the next day, May 8 (V-E Day), while Soviet forces announced their “Victory Day” on May 9, 1945. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, many of the survivors found shelter in displaced persons (DP) camps administered by the Allied powers. Between 1948 and 1951, almost 700,000 Jews emigrated to Israel, including 136,000 Jewish displaced persons from Europe. Other
Jewish DPs emigrated to the United States and other nations. The last DP camp closed in 1957. The crimes committed during the Holocaust devastated most European Jewish communities and eliminated hundreds of Jewish communities in occupied eastern Europe entirely.
Since independence, Rwandan society featured tensions between the Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority, leading to massacres amd expulsions in 1959 and 1963. On April 6, 1994, Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana, was killed when his plane was shot down outside of the country’s capital, Kigali. Habyarimana’s assassination provided the spark for an organizated campaign of violence against Tutsi and moderate Hutu civilians across the country. In 100 days, extremist Hutu groups, including the Interahamwe and the Presidential Guard, used radios to direct the killings of civilians across the country. Despite the efforts of the UNAMIR Peacekeepers, extremists were able to kill between 800,000 to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 100 days. In 1994, the United Nations created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), dedicated to bringing those responsible for the genocide to justice. While slow, the ICTR has determined that the widespread rapes committed during the Rwandan genocide may also be considered an act of torture and genocide on their own. What? The “Rwandan Genocide” refers to the 1994 mass slaughter in Rwanda of the ethnic Tutsi and politically moderate Hutu peoples. The killings began in early April of 1994 and continued for approximately one hundred days until the “Hutu Power” movement’s defeat in mid-July. The genocide was carried out primarily by Hutu supremacist militia groups, coperpetrated by the state government of Rwanda, the Rwandan Army, and Rwandan civilians in compliance with the “Hutu Power” movement. By its conclusion, at least 500,000 ethnic Tutsis were murdered, along with thousands of Tutsi sympathizers, moderate Hutus, and other victims of atrocity. Some estimates claim anywhere between 800,000- 1,000,000 killed, with another two million refugees (mostly Hutus fearing the retribution of the newlyempowered Tutsi rebel government) packed in disease-ridden refugee camps of neighboring Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and former Zaire.
Rwanda is a very small country (about the size of Maryland), located near the center of Africa, a few degrees south of the Equator. It is separated from the Democratic Republic of Congo (former Zaire) by Lake Kivu and the Ruzizi River valley to the west; it is bounded on the north by Uganda, to the east by Tanzania, and to the south by Burundi. The capital, Kigali, is located in the center of the country. According to the 1991 national census, the total population of Rwanda was 7.7 million, with 90 percent of the population in the Hutu ethnic group, 9 percent Tutsi, and 1 percent Twa. The Rwandan Genocide itself began with mass killings in Kigali, but over the course of its 100-day duration, killing spread to all corners of the country. When?
The Rwandan genocide took place over a time span of only 100 days, between April and July, 1994. Who? Victims Hutu nationalist group Parmehutu led a social revolution which overthrew the Tutsi ruling class, resulting in the death of around 20,000 Tutsis and the exile of another 200,000 to neighboring countries. Rwandan independence from Belgium would follow in 1961, marking the establishment of a Hutu-led Rwandan government. The Tutsis remaining in Rwanda, mostly due to intermarriage or other family ties, would be discriminated against as racially “lesser” citizens by the new Hutu government. The RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) was formed in 1985 as a political group of Tutsi nationalist exiles who demanded the right to return to their homeland as citizens and an end to social discrimination against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The RPF rebels invaded Rwanda from neighboring Uganda in October of 1990, reigniting Tutsi hatred throughout Rwanda. It was this act of Tutsi aggression, coupled with decades of discrimination and fear for a loss of power, that paved the way to genocide. Killed alongside the Tutsi people were those native Rwandan Hutu, who sympathized with their Tutsi neighbors and resisted by defending, hiding, or providing aid to their Tutsi neighbors. Moderate Hutus, many of whom refused to take action against their Tutsi neighbors, were also victimized in the genocide. Perpetrators Most of the killing was carried out by two Hutu radical militant groups: the Interahamwe and the Impuzamugambi. Armed, backed, and led by the government of Rwanda (MRND), the Interahamwe are remembered today as the driving force of the genocide, comprised mostly of young Hutu men, brainwashed by the “Hutu Power” ideology. Springing from a separate political entity, the CDR, the Impuzamugambi was made up of members of the CDR’s youth wing. These forces were fewer in number than those of the Interahamwe. The “moreextreme” anti-Tutsi agenda of the CDR reflected on the Impuzamugambi; their killings were often regarded as less organized, and more vicious. The genocide was obviously supported by the Hutu-led government (MRND) and members of the Rwandan army: they armed and directed militias, dispatched killing orders, and even participated in the rounding up of victims themselves. The most unsettling co-perpetrators of the genocide, however, were those Rwandan civilians who collaborated with and supported the genocide. Many Tutsis and moderate Hutus were handed over and/or killed by their own neighbors, also bent on antiTutsi sentiment. How? Unlike other genocides of the 20th century, the Rwandan genocide unfolded before the eyes of the national media. Journalists, radio broadcasters, and TV news reporters covered the events live from Rwanda, until the violence escalated to fanatical levels and all foreigners were encouraged to evacuate. In short, the world knew of the genocide from its first day up until its conclusion. Mark Doyle, a reporter for the BBC in Kigali, tried to explain the situation to the world in late April 1994 as follows,
“…you have to understand that there are two wars going on here. There’s a shooting war and a genocide war. The two are connected, but also distinct. In the shooting war, there are two conventional armies at each other, and in the genocide war, one of those armies, the government side with help from civilians, is involved in mass killings.” UNAMIR, the UN peacekeeping force in Rwanda, was present on the ground throughout the course of the genocide. With disregard to the violence portrayed in the national media, France, Belgium, and the United States declined to send additional support, despite UNAMIR’s specific warnings to the UN Security Council in early 1994, describing the Hutu militia’s plan for extermination. The Security Council denied UNAMIR’s request to intervene, and in early April, the Belgian contingency of UNAMIR’s force were pulled out, due to the murder of ten Belgian soldiers. Almost overnight, 4500 UNAMIR peacekeepers on the ground were reduced to a mere 260. Not until mid-May (approx. 500,000 Rwandans had already been killed) did the UN recognize that “acts of genocide may have been committed,” at which point the UN pledged to send in 5,500 troops and 50 armored personal carriers. This force, however, was further delayed due to continuing arguments between the UN and the U.S. army over the cost of the Armored Personnel Carriers. The genocide would be ended by the RPF overthrow of the Hutu Regime in July; the UN intervention never occurred. The state support for the genocide in Rwanda was no doubt one of its primary engines. The Hutu-led government provided arms, planning, and leadership for the militias. It also funded the RTLM “Hutu Power” radio broadcast, the primary source of “brainwashing” for the Rwandan civilians who also took part in the genocide. The Aftermath Immediately following the RPF takeover, around 2 million Hutus (perpetrators, bystanders, and resistors to the genocide) fled into the neighboring countries to avoid potential Tutsi retribution. Thousands died of epidemics, which spread like wildfire through to overcrowded refugee camps. The refugee presence in Zaire, among other factors, led to the first Congo War in 1996 and the formation of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Due to worsening conditions in the DRC and Tanzania, more than a million Rwandan refugees would return home by 1997. Back in Rwanda, the fully regenerated “UNAMIR 2” assumed control until March 8th, 1996. They faced the enormous task of cleaning up a war-torn country side, and dealing with the bodies of more than 1 million victims of genocide and war. The “machete” would become a symbol, synonymous to the Rwandan genocide for its widespread use by untrained civilians, to hack their neighbors to death. With the return of the refugees, the longawaited genocide trials could proceed. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, located in Arusha, Tanzania, began proceedings in 1996. To date, the Tribunal has completed 21 trials and convicted 28 persons guilty of war crimes, acts of genocide, rape, and the creation of “hate media.” Eleven trials are currently in progress, 14 accused criminals await trials in detention, and another 18 criminals remain at large, mostly presumed dead. *Luke Walker of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies researched and wrote this description. CHGS is a partner of World Without Genocide. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda *This paper was written by Ina Ziegler, a University of Minnesota Alumnus
On November 2, 2007, I had the honor of visiting the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania. I attended with twenty-seven other university students as part of the International Honors Program, a study-abroad program focusing on issues of globalization. At the tribunal, we received an initial briefing about its purpose. It was created November 8, 1994, by the United Nations, to prosecute those responsible for orchestrating the murder of more than 800,000 Rwandans during that same year. The first trial began in January 1997; since then, twenty-seven judgments have been made, involving thirty-three accused persons. Twenty-eight were convicted, and five acquitted. Twenty-seven accused persons are being tried now, and eighteen indicted remain at large. This brings the total to seventy-eight indictments. We were able to sit in on the trial of a man named Bikindi. Mr. Bikindi is a musician and performer, and he is accused of creating songs and dances that encourage people to kill Tutsis and commit other acts of violence. It’s a fascinating case and the decision will set a strong precedent for the future; it brings in issues of free speech, artistic license, and responsibility and accountability for artistic creation. It is also a reminder of the enormous power that music, dance, and other art forms have, and how that power can be exploited and used in dangerous and deadly ways. During the portion of the trial we attended, Mr. Bikindi was being asked by the prosecutor about his ties to the government, and about a particular photograph which showed members of his dance troupe wearing uniforms of the interahamwe, the Hutu militia. A long discussion ensued, in which Mr. Bikindi argued at length about the meaning of the words uniform and costume, and whether the photograph therefore revealed that his dancers were part of the militia or simply acting, providing entertainment. It was at that point that the reality of the situation overwhelmed me. I was sitting behind a soundproof glass window, looking at ten or twelve judges and court officials surrounding this one man, Mr. Bikindi, seated at the witness stand in the center. I was listening to an inane conversation about costumes versus uniforms, translated carefully and rapidly into my headset. Fifteen minutes later, I left the room and had pastries and coffee in the cafeteria. Is this justice? Is it really? Nearly a million people are dead. Will the conviction or acquittal of this one man, who has the confidence to sit in this place and quibble over semantics, really matter? The justice of this court can only be, at best, symbolic. And it is not that the symbols do not matter; they do, tremendously. Of course it matters that this trial is taking place; of course it matters that the rules of law, which are all we have, are being followed. Of course we have a desperate need for symbolic meaning, and this court offers that to the world, to humanity, in the best way that it can. If it is this or nothing, semantics or silence, I choose semantics. But it is not enough. It can never be enough. The only justice that would be enough is too great for me to fathom. It would indict all of us, every human being on this planet. Every person who has participated in or benefited from colonialism, which in many ways created this whole mess. Every person who killed another. Every person who supplied arms to combatants. Every person who remained silent when the genocide was happening. Every person who remains silent now, when it is still going on. The scale of guilt, of sin, is too great. No human justice can ever be great enough to encompass it. The blood of our brothers and sisters is crying out, to whatever God can hear, from the ground where our apathy, our greed, our silence, has spilled it, not just in Rwanda but in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatemala, El Salvador, Vietnam, Laos, Bosnia, Germany, Poland, the United States— everywhere. No justice will ever be enough. I am left to wonder what, then, could possibly be great enough. We are here, and we have to survive somehow, with this burden. What can we
do? I come to mercy—forgiveness—love. I don’t know if I have the right to use these words; my family has not been killed, or deported, or imprisoned. Would I still use these words if they had? I don’t know. All I know is that for now they are the only words I have. What else is there? I’m open to suggestions. Perhaps we can think about the words of Mr. Adama Dieng, the registrar of the tribunal. He shared with us a proverb from Senegal, his home: “A human being is a remedy for humanity.” The only remedy we have for the ills of this world is to be human, to feel and to love and to live. It is the only hope I have for the future. I hope that we can strive to reach the power behind the words of mercy, and love, and forgiveness; to find out what it means and to live it. We can strive to hear the voices that are crying out. We can strive to change those things that hurt us, that take away our humanity. What else is there? I see no other way to live.