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Posts Tagged ‘Genocide’

Tragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 7, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATragedy in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Mothers of Congo

18:30 Friday 1st March,

43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA

“As a gesture of thanks to the Universal Peace Federation – UK for all the support given to Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the “Mothers of Congo” would like to extend an invitation all members, other NGO’s and friends to a Congolese evening on 1st of March 2013 (from 18.30 until 21:00 pm) at 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA. During the evening you will be able to experience Congolese culture, sample its food and enjoy the best of Congolese music.

We would like to take this opportunity to inform our guests who are not aware of the tragic situation in the DRC. Eastern DRC, especially, was one of the most beautiful places in the world but is now recognised as one of the most dangerous places on earth. We will see a brief video followed by a talk. We will also hear from experts about the situation vis-a-vis conflict minerals in Congo. We would also like to give time for Q-A and discussion as to how we can support each others campaigns, humanitarian efforts and activities.

RSVP to  pa@uk.upf.org  or 02072620985 by 20th February 2013.

Yours sincerely,

Charlotte Simon.

Mothers of Congo

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Holocaust Memorial and Genocide Prevention

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 15, 2011

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Hosted by Lord King, the Universal Peace Federation-UK held the annual ‘Holocaust Memorial and Genocide Prevention’ in a heart moving event in the House of Lords on February 15th, 2011. This featured Daniel Finkelstein sharing his family’s tragic Holocaust experience, Alex Ntung and Prudencienne Seward spoke of their horrific experiences in the Rwandan and Great Lakes region and Ruth Barnett spoke about Genocide in general and the Armenian Genocide in particular as a forerunner of the Holocaust. Jonathan Fryer emphasised the role of the individual to take on the Responsibility to Protect.

Daniel Finkelstein’s family suffered greatly during the Holocaust. Most of his family were in Holland in the same community as Anne Frank. On the day they received visas to go to the UK Holland was invaded and they were trapped. With three young children it was impossible to go into hiding like Anne Frank. His Grandfather, who was in London at the time, is famous for founding the Wiener Library in London for the collection of evidence and artefacts of Fascism. The collection was used during the Nuremberg Trials. The Wiener Library is the world’s oldest institution devoted to the study of the Holocaust, its causes and legacies. Founded in 1933 as an information bureau that informed Jewish communities and governments worldwide about the persecution of the Jews under the Nazis.

Finkelstein’s family experience of the Holocaust has coloured his political views. Big ideas are threatening because it was the big ideas that killed many of his family as well as many other tragedies. The small ideas are less threatening.  The passionate desire for the truth pursued by his grandfather has also influenced his political and journalistic career.

His mother and her sisters lived due to an ‘outrageous stroke of luck’ because there was a prisoner swap which only happened one time. He described the torment of ‘survivor’s guilt’ suffered by his Aunts adding that his Mother dealt with this through her strong mind and keen reasoning. (For a full account please see here)

Two testimonies about the Rwandan genocide were very powerful. Alex Ntung shared that he had been saved because of his nose! His nose does not look like a typical Tutsi nose. He sadly has been in three genocides: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. Somehow he survived all three. Another time he escaped because the killers at a checkpoint had killed so much they were tired and hungry and he was able to pass through without being attacked. He suffered the survival guilt that was experienced by Holocaust survivors.

Prudentienne Seward, a Rwandan Tutsi, testified to her work with the healing process after so much tragic loss in her family during the  Genocide in 1994. She has been involved in ‘Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue’. She is the Chair of PAX that is seeking to promote justice, forgiveness and reconciliation among Rwandans ad people of the Great Lakes Region by involving them in reconciliation activities. They hold regular conferences to attempt to deal with the repeated human rights violations of the Great Lakes region in a way that heals and brings closure for as many as possible. In the view of the activists there has been little progress since the Edenbridge declaration in 2001 to bring reconciliation in the Great Lakes region.

Ruth Barnett, a Holocaust Educator and Kinder transport child, shared that the pursuit of truth that was so important for Daniel Finkelstein’s Grandfather was also important for her and for the resolution of genocide. Denial of genocide is the final stage in the Gregory Stanton’s ‘the 8 Stages of Genocide’ (For More Info: Genocide Watch). The first six stages do not include murder. There are many opportunities to prevent genocide before it gets to violence. The 7th stage is extermination of the victimised group and the 8th stage is denial of the genocide. That is why she said she is so hot on challenging  genocide denial.

Barnett emphasised that the Armenian genocide was the model for the Holocaust in that the Turkish leaders were allowed to evade responsibility for 96 years. There are archives in the Houses of Parliament that demonstrate the truth of the Armenian genocide. There is no closure without acknowledgement. After the World War One there was a conspiracy to cover up the truth of the genocide that included the UK Government. This was not a healthy development and encouraged other genocides because conspiirators believed they could commit mass murder with impunity.

Prudentienne Seward testified to her work with the healing process after so much tragic loss in her family. She has been involved in ‘Highly Inclusive Inter-Rwandan Dialogue’. She is the Chair of PAX that is seeking to promote justice, forgiveness and reconciliation among Rwandans ad people of the Great Lakes Region by involving them in reconciliation activities. They hold regular conferences to attempt to deal with the repeated human rights violations of the Great Lakes region in a way that heals and brings closure for as many as possible. In the view of the activists there has been little progress since the Edenbridge declaration in 2001 to bring reconciliation in the Great Lakes region.

Her family suffered many deaths and her husband was also killed in the massacres. It has been so traumatic but she felt the only way to go forward was to seek to promote reconciliation, justice and forgiveness through PAX. This justice should deal with the massacres of 1994 but should also deal with the other bouts of killing that preceded this.

Marilyn Brummer, President of the League of Jewish Women, asked if the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ initiative could be effective when dealing with sovereign nations that were engaging in persecution of a minority community?

Jonathan Fryer emphasised that nations are composed of people who need to take responsibility to stand up for what they believe. In the Holocaust there were a number of individuals who took incredible risks to save Jews even though they were not Jewish themselves. The responsibility to protect can of course promoted and implemented by nations and armies but they are often part of the problem. Individuals must stand up to take their own responsibility to protect by being courageous. Once the people stand up the Government cannot hold them back for long.

Robin Marsh explained that the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) perceives humanity as being one family under God. This means that all human life has sacred value. Thus the human value and rights of all people are equal. This also means that our moral concern should be to protect all members of the human family and support the poorest and most disadvantaged. Tim Miller, the Vice President of European UPF, added that the Inter-Religious Council proposal for the United Nations composing the spiritual and religious wisdom of all faith communities in conjunction with political leadership could promote the dialogue that has the possiblity to prevent these tragedies.

Photo Link

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Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 3, 2010

Ruth Barnett  Parallels of Holocaust and Armenian Genocide

Dr Hojjatt Ramzy, Marie-lyse Numuhoza, Ruth Barnett, Cllr. Margaret Ali

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’

House of Lords

1st February, 2010  More Photos Link

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This programme was aimed to promote awareness of the ‘Path to Genocide‘ and to focus attention on the recently passed UN Resolution, the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ soon after the internationally recognised Holocaust Memorial Day. It was held in the House of Lords, Committee Room 4A organised by the Universal Peace Federation’s (UPF) Community Cohesion Working Group who identify with the UPF vision of humankind as ‘One Family Under God’.

Robin Marsh explained that, Genocide is defined as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, by killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’ He quoted Gregory H. Stanton, President of Genocide Watch, who describes eight stages of the ‘Path to Genocide’ as Classification, Symbolization, Dehumanization, Organization, Polarization, Preparation, Extermination and Denial. At each stage Stanton  has suggested appropriate actions that can be taken by the international community. Marsh concluded that an Inter-religious Council, especially at the United Nations, as conceived by the founding purpose of the UPF, could be a useful forum for dialogue to respond to these tragedies at an early stage.

Lawrence Joffe - Holocaust

Lawrence Joffe, an author and historian, spoke of the horror of the Holocaust, expressing his fortune at being born of a family whose grandmother was able to escape on one of the last ships from Germany to South Africa before the war. He referred to two types of people who feel guilty: the perpetrator and the survivor.  The Germans are very remorseful for the actions of their predecessors. The surviving Jews also feel very guilty for surviving when so many did not. For Ruth Barnett, one of the 10,000 kindertransport children who were saved, the guilt of survival has led her to being a Holocaust Educator.

Lawrence, quoting Raul Hildberg, said that there are only three types of people in these extreme situations. ‘The perpetrator, the victim and the bystander.’  He added that there should also be two other categories: the collaborator and the survivor. He explained the lack of support to receive Jewish refugees in 1935 when only the Dominican republic offered to receive Jewish refugees from many nations of the world was an example of the bystander. He added that it was ironic that the Ashkenazi Jewish people thought that Germany was the most advance nation in the world at that time and had felt very comfortable and accepted in German society. However Hitler in 1920 had said, ‘It is our duty to whip up the instinctive revulsion of the Jews.’ From 9 million Jews in Europe in 1939 approximately 6 million were killed. For example 90% of Jews in Poland were killed. (Useful links suggested by Lawrence Joffe to poetry of the Holocaust and inscriptions by Chagall)

Ruth Barnett since beginning her campaign for greater awareness of the Holocaust has also been active in campaigns for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and other human rights issues.

David Wardrop Chair Westminster UNA - Responsibility to Protect

David Wardrop: Chair Westminster United Nations Association

David Wardrop spoke of the UN Resolution in October 2009 that established the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ as well as the International Criminal Court current situation. He added that both were weak but that at least they were on the agenda and could be strengthened. He explained that ‘We the people’ must challenge Governments to champion the role of ‘Responsibility to Protect’ provisions. He concluded that civil society and media have an important role to play in developing the capacity of the international community to act in the case of an ongoing genocide.

Lord King of West Bromwich in his opening remarks emphasised that UPF believes that humankind is ‘One Family Under God’. He explained that Father Moon had suffered greatly to find the heart to love all people. He added that loving families would be at the core of peace in the future. Such families would form peaceful nations and a peaceful world.

Dr Pilikian Khatchatur Armenian Genocide

Dr Pilikian Khatchatur

Dr Pilikian Khatchatur described the parallels between the Armenian genocide and the Holocaust in which he said one million Armenians are estimated to have died. He quoted Hitler’s comment on the treatment of Armenians, ‘Ataturk has two great students in this world, Mussolini and I.’

Dr Hojjat Ramzy explained the circumstances of ethnic cleansing in Bosnia especially with the genocide of Bosniac Muslims in Srebrenica and the use of rape as a weapon of war. Marie-lyse Numuhoza described her experience of conflict in Rwanda that led to the genocidal killings of Tutsi people. Rachel Francis-Ingham (full speech here) described the suffering of the Gypsy or Roma people of whom 350,000 were estimated to have died in the Holocaust. There are serious health issues in a refugee camp of Roma people in Kosovo currently she said. Mr Paramjit Singh described the ‘premeditated killing of 500,000 Sikhs’ and ‘mass rapes of Sikh women’ in June and October 1984 mainly in the Punjab, India as a Sikh genocide.

By Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide Watch

Classification Symbolization Dehumanization Organization Polarization Preparation Extermination Denial

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Bosnian Genocide by Dr Hojjat Ramzy

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010

Bosnian Genocide by Dr Hojjat Ramzy

Dear Brothers, Sisters and Friends,

Dr Hojjat Ramzi

I greet you all with the Islamic greetings of the peace and mercy of Almighty God,  Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah.

The Holocaust Memorial Day which took place on January 27th marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Aushwitz concentration camp.

We all sympathise deeply with the victims and are horrified at the scale of brutality that took place during the Second World War. However, History has a terrible way of repeating itself.

Today I would like to remind you of another horror story, the Bosnian genocide: Another manifestation of the complete disregard for the sanctity of human life. I hope that we can learn lessons from this tragedy;  in the same way we have done from the Holocaust, in order to prevent such terrible events from ever happening again. God willing.

After the First World War Bosnia was united with other Slaav territories to form Yugoslavia. It was ruled and run by Serbs. Following the death of Tito the communist ruler of Yugoslavia and the national Yugoslavian elections in 1990, both Serbia and Bosnia declared their independence. Bosnia’s independence was recognised by the USA and the European Union. However,   the Serbian Leader Milosevich and the Serbs saw this as an affront to their claims to Milosevich’s ‘Greater Serbia’.

Tensions grew between the two sides and the Yugoslav army turned against the Bosnian community. The European Union’s attempts at intervention failed and the UN, who provided a number of troops for humanitarian aid, refused to intervene. Slowly the Bosnian Muslim areas fell to the Serbs and the ethnic cleansing began. The atrocities that were to take place in the town of Srebrenitsa illustrate one of the most horrifying episodes of this war where brutality and military efficiency turned into genocide.

In 1992, the UN declared this city a safe area, under the care of the French and Dutch governments. In July 1995 Serb troops led by Ratko Mladic descended on Srebrenitsa and began to destroy it. They had already killed many Muslim soldiers in the countryside villages. Now they were besieging Srebrenitsa’s thousands of Muslim civilians. Food supplies and water began to decline, buildings were destroyed, and people were murdered. Soon Serb troops were able to take up positions close to the town. In Bosnia’s capital, Sarajevo, a radio message from an amateur operator in Srebrenitsa was heard: ‘Please do something. Whatever you can. In the name of God, do something.’ No one did anything.

The only action taken was the Dutch commander warned Serb officials that there would be air strikes at 6.00 a.m. on the morning of July 11 unless Serbian troops moved away from the town’s borders. But, there were no air strikes, instead, the Serbs’ bombardment intensified. Thousands of Muslims fled to the Dutch compound. Throughout the day a stream of refugees was slowly admitted inside: up to 6,000 by nightfall and around 20,000 more were left waiting outside. There was no food, no water, only fear of mass murder.

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Rachel Francis-Ingham: UK Association of Gypsy Women

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010

Kosovo’s Poisoned Generation

Rachel Francis-Ingham: UK Association of Gypsy Women

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’ UPF Meeting

February 1st, 2010


In WW2 our people were murdered in their tens of thousands in Hitler’s death camps:

Like the Jews, Gypsies were singled out by the Nazis for racial persecution and annihilation. The first to go were the German Sinte Gypsies; 30,000 were deported East in three waves in 1939, 1941 and 1943. Those married to Germans were exempted but were sterilized, as were their children after the age of twelve.

They were ‘nonpersons,’ of `foreign blood,’ `labour-shy,’ and as such were termed asocials. To a degree, they shared the fate of the Jews in their ghettos, in the extermination camps, before firing squads, as medical guinea pigs, and being injected with lethal substances in Auschwitz, Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbruck and other camps.

At Sachsenhausen they were subjected to special experiments that were to prove scientifically that their blood was different from that of the Germans.

A contemporary Nazi theorist believed that `the Gypsy cannot, by reason of his inner and outer makeup, be a useful member of the human community. The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 aimed at the Jews were soon amended to include the Gypsies. In 1937, they were classified as asocials, second-class citizens, subject to concentration camp imprisonment.

Ethnic Cleansing did not end for my people in 1945.

During the Balkans war in 1999, again our people were murdered, many remain missing, and many others driven from their homes and businesses and became ‘displaced people’

Over a decade later the Roma people remain on contaminated camps in Kosovo.

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Holocaust and Genocide – useful links:

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on February 1, 2010

Lawrence Joffe suggested:

Online poems by the late Abraham Sutzkever

An amazing resource from scholarship, most of his poems on the war years, illustrated (some by Chagall)

A Day in the Hands of the Stormtroopers (excerpt)

Don’t hit. My limbs do not hurt anymore.
These limbs are not mine, like an hour that’s passed.
An unseen hand pulls me out to a world
Where there is no death,
None.

I take off my body like a cover of dust.
Like a road wound up on a wheel, I spin in time.

A. Sutzkever   ‘Selected Poetry and Prose’ Translated from the Yiddish by Barbara and Benjamin Harshav

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS  © 1991 The Regents of the University of California

Another of his collections: The Fiddle Rose

Hava Alberstein

sings Mayn Shvester Khaye, My Sister Haya, a song she set to a touching poem by Binim Heller about his sister, who died in Treblinka

http://www.youtube.com/user/sovietkitch2007#p/u/3/GLnxE9JVaJU

Another lovely version by a Russian male and female singer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImFxA6y9VM8

Lyrics

http://www.pinteleyid.com/yiddish/culture/songs/Mayn%20Shvester%20Khaye.doc

Alberstein also sings the Partisan Song, Zog Nit Kaynmol – never say it is the end

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wgYnYSg3Zs&feature=related

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Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 24, 2010

Repentance and Remembrance - Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Grounds: UPF's Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) May 2006 - European and American Delegation

Universal Peace Federation (UPF)

Email: pa@uk.upf.org Web: www.uk.upf.org

‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’

Repentance and Remembrance at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum: German Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI) Participant Preparing to Lay Flower in Remembrance of the Holocaust

Repentance and Remembrance Ceremonies at Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem during the Middle East Peace Initiative visits by the Universal Peace Federation.  (Link for MEPI Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Ceremony Photos.)

Repentance and Remembrance - Laying Flowers and Greeting Jewish Representatives - Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum Near Jerusalem

Universal Peace Federation – UK

Tel : 020 7262 0985, 43 Lancaster Gate, London, W2 3NA.   www.uk.upf.org

www.mepi-eu.org Middle East Peace Initiative

UPF is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations

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‘Genocide’

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on January 23, 2010

https://peacedevelopmentnetwork.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2485&action=edit

Cllr. Faizullah Khan:             Genocide

(Paper prepared for February 1st presentation at  ‘Genocide Awareness and Holocaust Commemoration’ Conference)

If a question is asked, “What is common between Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chechnya, Sudan, DR Congo.”  Only perhaps human right activist or some UN official will be able to answer this question. The answer should not surprise you, it is “Genocide”

The term “genocide” did not exist before 1944. It is a very specific term, referring to violent crimes committed against

Cllr. Faizullah Khan laying flowers Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum

groups with the intent to destroy the existence of a certain group.

This only became possible by the efforts of a Polish-Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin(1900-1959). He sought to describe Nazi policies of systematic murder, including the destruction of the European Jews. He formed the word “genocide” by combining geno-, from the Greek word for race or tribe, with –cide, from the Latin word for killing. In proposing this new term, Lemkin had in mind “a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.” The next year, the International Military Tribunal held at Nuremberg, Germany, charged top Nazis with “crimes against humanity.” The word “genocide” was included in the indictment, but as a descriptive, not legal, term.

On December 9, 1948, in the shadow of the Holocaust and in no small part due to the tireless efforts of Lemkin himself, the United Nations approved the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This convention establishes “genocide” as an international crime, which signatory nations “undertake to prevent and punish.” It defines genocide as:

While many cases of group-targeted violence have occurred throughout history and even since the Convention came into effect, the legal and international development of the term  is concentrated into two distinct historical periods: the time from the coining of the term until its acceptance as international law (1944-1948) and the time of its activation with the establishment of international criminal tribunals to prosecute the crime of genocide (1991-1998). Preventing genocide, the other major obligation of the convention, remains a challenge that nations and individuals continue to face.

Resolution 96 (I) 11 December 1946

United Nations considered in its resolution 96 (I) 11 December 1946 that genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world,

Recognizing that at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity, and being convinced that, in order to liberate mankind from such an odious scourge, international co-operation is required,

Hereby agree as hereinafter provided:

Article 1

The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish.

Article 2

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, 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 the group to another group.

International Criminal Court logo

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

On 9 December 1948 United nations  General Assembly approved and proposed for signature and ratification or accession resolution 260 A (III) which entered into force on 12 January 1951, in accordance with article XIII. Genocide was a crime now in international law.

The Convention entered into force on January 12, 1951, after more than 20 countries from around the world ratified it.

An International Promise to Prevent and Punish Genocide is Made

Despite facing strong opposition by those who believed it would diminish U.S. sovereignty, President Ronald Reagan signed the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide on November 5, 1988. Among the Convention’s most vocal advocates was Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire, who delivered more than 3,000 speeches before Congress arguing for its passage.

This timeline traces the development

1944

The Crime is Named

Before 1944, no word existed to describe a coordinated assault on civilian populations.

1993

The World Acts to Punish but Not to Halt Atrocities in the Former Yugoslavia

Targeted civilian groups suffered brutal atrocities throughout the conflicts in the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia (1991-95) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (1992-95). Though the international community showed little will to stop the crimes as they were taking place, the UN Security Council did establish the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague. It was the first international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg and the first mandated to prosecute the crime of genocide.

Nonetheless, the single worst atrocity to occur in Europe since the Holocaust came two years later. In July 1995, the Bosnian Serb army overran the United Nations declared “safe haven” of Srebrenica. In the following days, they killed some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys. This incident would later be judged to constitute “genocide” by the ICTY. In total, 100,000 people died during the Bosnian conflict; some 80% of the civilians killed were Bosniaks.

1994

Genocide memorial in Nyamata church, Rwanda

After the Genocide Ends, the World Creates a Tribunal for Rwanda

From April through mid-July, at least 500,000 civilians, mostly of the Tutsi minority, were murdered with devastating brutality and speed while the international community looked on. In October, the UN Security Council extended the mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to include a separate but linked tribunal for Rwanda, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, located in Arusha, Tanzania.

1998

The First Conviction for Genocide is Won

On September 2, 1998, The International Criminal tribunal for Rwanda issued the firt conviction for Genocide after a trial, declaring Jean-Paul Akayesu guilty for the acts he engaged in and oversaw as Mayor of Rwandan town of Taba.

The skulls of hundreds of victims rest at Ntarama memorial, one of dozens of churches where Tutsis gathered to seek protection during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. November, 2007. USHMM

1998

A Permanent Court to Prosecute Atrocities against Civilians is Established

Through an international treaty ratified on July 17, 1998, the International Criminal Court was permanently established to prosecute genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The treaty reconfirmed the definition of genocide found in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. It also expanded the definition of crimes against humanity and prohibits these crimes during times of war or peace.

A brief about recent genocide.

DR Congo. Throughout its colonial period and into the present, Congo’s rulers have exploited the country’s vast natural resources for their own profit. Long-serving President Mobutu Sese Seko pitted ethnic groups against each other in an effort to sustain power and violently oppressed opposition.

Sudan. Since independence, Sudan has been dominated by a ruling elite in the capital Khartoum, which has overseen almost constant war in the nation’s peripheral regions. Both the war in the south and the ongoing conflict in Darfur have been characterized by crimes against humanity, with the conflict in Darfur amounting to genocide.

Chechnya In 1944 the entire Chechen population was deported. When the Soviet Union broke apart in the 1990s, a Chechen nationalist independence movement gained momentum. The Russians responded with force.

Bosnia-Herzegovina A history of regional violence was resurrected by new leaders to support nationalist goals. In summer 1995, Bosnian Serb plans to create an ethnically cleansed state culminated in preparations to take the last UN safe havens in eastern Bosnia.

Rwanda, Amid increasing economic and political tensions, and an armed threat from a Tutsi-led rebel group, Hutu extremists prepared to assault the entire Tutsi minority population.

Genocide does not occur spontaneously. While warning signs can vary from case to case, there are common indicators that suggest a growing potential for genocide. Some of these signs can be found within a society’s history. The potential for genocide, however, increases when leaders decide to heighten tensions between groups and make specific plans to use violence.


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