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Ma. Jade B.

Villanueva 2-A

Is There Genocide in Darfur?

The reading assigned to us was a Legal Analysis of the Genocide in Darfur. Now,
I realized why I found to be a very dry and a boring fact/event vs. law analysis. I had
always believed international law is more than a mere checklist leading to a conclusion
branch of law. As I suspected, there was more to the conflict in Darfur than what meets
the eye as presented in the reading. It is a very complicated political, religious, ethnic and
economic occurrence that transcends the borders of states making it a relevant discourse
in international law and politics.
It’s not always challenging to always agree (especially if your Professor had given
the hint that he’d be interested in reading a negative response.)
There is no genocide in Darfur. The following are the reasons presented by
academicians, international lawyers and foreign policy experts: (1) there was no definite
finding of genocidal intent; (2) blurred identities of the groups (3) relatively low body
count as a result of the atrocities; (4) excuse for the international community not to
It can not be established that the fact that mass killings happened, it was
motivated by a genocidal intent which I understood to be the motivation to eliminate a
certain group or part of them simply because of their sheer identification with that group.
The conflict in Darfur, as I understood it, is not only motivated by identity issues in the
ethnic and religious sense. It spilled over to the political and economic realms. The
killings are mainly due to the breakdown of power-sharing schemes in the government
and long standing historical and economic feuds between the richer North and poorer
South (or the people and the nomads) as they label them.
This will lead me to the next reason why there is no genocide which I believe
transcends the problems of international law and will call for the aid of identity politics. It
is a contention among scholars that no genocide exists in Darfur due mainly to the fact
that there is no clear delineation between the groups which commits the alleged genocide
and the victims. One scholar even cited that what exist in Darfur are political identities
not racial, ethnic, national or religious groups. What is happening in Darfur was
conveniently labeled as the conflict of Muslim Arabs attacking the African Christians.
But some Arabs are opposed to the atrocities and fights alongside the Africans.
Moreover, intermarriages between them made it now more difficult to distinguish one
from the other. For other scholars, it is between the rich North versus the poor and
struggling South.
The third reason is the relatively less body count of dead people. There are about
60, 000 – 160,000 body count which is lesser as compared to Rwanda. It is believed that
for a mass killing to qualify as genocide, it demands a large body count which is not the
case in Darfur.
The last reason that no genocide exists because the international community does
not want to intervene in the atrocities. If it is genocide, the international community is
compelled should act and intervene.
Those were the reasons why no genocide exists in Darfur. But more than the
problem of ‘labels’ whether it is a civil war, crime against humanity or genocide – people
are dying and being stuck in the politics of labels will not ease their suffering.


Mamdani, Mahmood. “Politics of Naming: Genocide, Civil War. London Review

Politics_of_Naming.pdf 06 Oct. 2010.

Reeves, Eric. Quantifying Genocide in Darfur: Summary Update. <www.> 06 Oct. 2010