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Genocide is the mass killing of a group of people. It is defined in Article 2 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) 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: 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." Because of the insistence of Joseph Stalin, this definition of genocide under international law does not include political groups.

The preamble to the CPPCG not only states that "genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations and condemned by the civilized world", but that "at all periods of history genocide has inflicted great losses on humanity".

Determining what historical events constitute a genocide and which are merely criminal or inhuman behaviour is not a clear-cut matter. In nearly every case where accusations of genocide have circulated, partisans of various sides have fiercely disputed the interpretation and details of the event, often to the point of promoting wildly different versions of the facts. An accusation of genocide is certainly not taken lightly and will almost always be controversial. The following list of genocides and alleged genocides should be understood in this context and cannot be regarded as the final word on these subjects.

Alternative meanings of genocide

Much of the debate about genocides revolves around the proper definition of the word "genocide." The exclusion of social and political groups as targets of genocide in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide legal definition has been criticized by some historians and sociologists, for example M. Hassan Kakar in his book The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982M. Hassan Kakar Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982 University of California press © 1995 The Regents of the University of California. argues that the international definition of genocide is too restricted,M. Hassan Kakar depth=1& 4. The Story of Genocide in Afghanistan: 13. Genocide Throughout the Country and that it should include political groups or any group so defined by the perpetrator and quotes Chalk and Jonassohn: "Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group so defined by the perpetrator."

According to R. J. Rummel, genocide has 3 different meanings. The ordinary meaning is murder by a government of people due to their national, ethnic, racial, or religious group membership. The legal meaning of genocide refers to the international treaty, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This also includes nonkillings that in the end eliminate the group, such as preventing births or forcibly transferring children out of the group to another group. A generalized meaning of genocide is similar to the ordinary meaning but also includes government killings of political opponents or otherwise intentional murder. It is to avoid confusion regarding what meaning is intended that Rummel created the term democide for the third meaning.

Timeline of genocides and alleged genocides

Before 1490

Adam Jones explains, in his book Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction, that people throughout history have always had the ability to see other groups as alien; he quotes Chalk and Jonassohn: "Historically and anthropologically peoples have always had a name for themselves. In a great many cases, that name meant 'the people' to set the owners of that name off against all other people who were considered of lesser quality in some way. If the differences between the people and some other society were particularly large in terms of religion, language, manners, customs, and so on, then such others were seen as less than fully human: pagans, savages, or even animals. (Chalk and Jonassohn, The History and Sociology of Genocide, p. 28.)"Adam Jones References p. 3, footnote 4

Jones continues by saying that the less a people have in common with another group the easier it is for the aliens to be defined as less than human and from there it is but a short step to an argument that says if they are a threat, then they should "be eliminated in order that we may live (Them or us)."Adam Jones p.3 footnote 5 cites Helen Fein, Genocide: A Sociological Perspective, (London: Sage, 1993), p. 26 But after making this assessment Jones continues "The difficulty, as Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn pointed out in their early study, is that such historical records as exist are ambiguous and undependable. While history today is generally written with some fealty to 'objective' facts, most previous accounts aimed rather to praise the writer's patron (normally the leader) and to emphasize the superiority of one's own gods and religious beliefs."Adam Jones References p. 3


Scholars of antiquity differentiate between gendercide in which males were killed, but the children (particularly the girls) and women were incorporated into the conqueror's society, Jones notes that "Chalk and Jonassohn provide a wide-ranging selection of historical events such as the Assyrian Empire’s root-and branch depredations in the first half of the first millennium BCE, and the destruction of Melosmarker by Athens during the Peloponnesian War (fifth century BCE), a gendercidal rampage described by Thucydides in his 'Melian Dialogue'."Adam Jones References p. 5

The Old Testament describes the genocides of Amalekites and Midianites. Jones quotes Jerusalem-based Holocaust Studies Professor Yehuda Bauer: "As a Jew, I must live with the fact that the civilization I inherited ... encompasses the call for genocide in its canon."Adam Jones References p. 4, note 6, citing Bauer, Rethinking the Holocaust, (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2001), p. 41

Ben Kiernan, a Yale scholar, has labeled the destruction of Carthagemarker at the end of the Third Punic War (149–146 BC) "The First Genocide". Quoting Eric Margolis, Jones observes that in the 13th century the Mongol horsemen of Temüjin Genghis Khan were genocidal killers (génocidaires) who were known to kill whole nations leaving nothing but empty ruins and bones..

1490 to 1914


Main article: Population history of American indigenous peoples

From the 1490s when Christopher Columbus set foot on the Americas to the 1890 massacre of Sioux at Wounded Knee by the United States militia, the indigenous population of the Western Hemispheremarker may have declined, mostly from disease, by 1.8 to as many as 10 million.Staff. A review of American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World (by David Stannard), on the website of Oxford University Press (the publishers) In Brazilmarker alone the indigenous population has declined from a pre-Columbian high of an estimated 3 million to some 300,000 (1997). Estimates of how many people were living in the Americas when Columbus arrived have varied tremendously; 20th century scholarly estimates ranged from a low of 8.4 million to a high of 112.5 million persons. This population debate has often had ideological underpinnings. Robert Royal writes that "estimates of pre-Columbian population figures have become heavily politicized with scholars who are particularly critical of Europe and/or Western civilization often favoring wildly higher figures."

Scholars now believe that, among the various contributing factors, epidemic disease was the overwhelming cause of the population decline of the American natives. After first contacts with Europeans and Africans, some believe that the death of 90 to 95% of the native population of the New World was caused by Old World diseases such as smallpox and measles.

Determining how many people died as a direct result of armed conflict between native Americans, and Europeans and their descendants, is difficult as accurate records were not always kept.

In his book American Holocaust, David Stannard argues that the destruction of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas, in a "string of genocide campaigns" by Europeans and their descendants, was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world. While no mainstream historian denies that death and suffering were unjustly inflicted by a number of Europeans upon a great many American natives, most scholars of the subject favor a nuanced view of the intentions of American leaders with many leaders explicitly favoring a genocide against Native Americans such as Teddy Roosevelt (but felt it not pragmatic) and others aimed to prevent one such as Thomas Jefferson who sought to inoculate the Native Americans against the new diseases the Europeans brought.

In 2003, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez urged Latin Americans to not celebrate the Columbus Day holiday. Chavez blamed Columbus for leading the way in the mass genocide of the Native Americans by the Spanish.

The American writer and former Rhodes Scholar David Quammen has likened the colonial American policies and practices toward native Americans with those of Australia toward its aboriginal populations, calling them "brutal, hypocritical, opportunistic, and even genocidal in the fullest sense of the word."

United States of America
Authors such as the Holocaust expert David Cesarani have argued that the government and policies of the United States of Americamarker against certain indigenous peoples constituted genocide. Cesarani states that "in terms of the sheer numbers killed, the Native American Genocide exceeds that of the Holocaust". He quotes David E. Stannard, author of American Holocaust, who speaks of the "genocidal and racist horrors against the indigenous peoples that have been and are being perpetrated by many nations in the Western Hemisphere, including the United States ..." Michno estimates 21,586 dead, wounded, and captured civilians and soldiers for the period of 1850–1890 alone.

In God, Greed, and Genocide: The Holocaust Through the Centuries, Grenke quotes Chalk and Jonassohn with regards to the Cherokee Trail of Tears that "an act like the Cherokee deportation would almost certainly be considered an act of genocide today". The Indian Removal Act of 1830 led to the Trail of Tears. About 17,000 Cherokees — along with approximately 2,000 black slaves owned by Cherokees — were removed from their homes. The number of people who died as a result of the Trail of Tears has been variously estimated. American doctor and missionary Elizur Butler, who made the journey with one party, estimated 4,000 deaths.

The Conquest of the Desert was a military campaign directed mainly by General Julio Argentino Roca in the 1870s, which established Argentine dominance over Patagonia, which was inhabited by indigenous peoples, leaving more than 1,300 indigenous dead.

Jens Andermann has noted that the contemporary sources on that campaign indicate that it was a genocide by the Argentinemarker government against the indigenous tribes. Others perceive the campaign as intending to suppress specifically those groups of aboriginals that refused to submit to the white government and carried out attacks on the white and mestizo civilian settlements. This recent argument – usually summarized as "Civilization or Genocide?"– questions whether the Conquest of the Desert was really intended to exterminate the aborigines.Prof.


The Black War was a period of conflict between the Britishmarker colonists and Tasmanian Aborigines in Van Diemen's Landmarker (now Tasmaniamarker) in the early years of the 1800s. The conflict, in combination with introduced diseases and other factors, had such devastating impact on the Tasmanian Aboriginal population that it was reported the Tasmanian Aborigines had been exterminated. Historian Geoffrey Blainey says that by 1830 in Tasmania: “Disease had killed most of them but warfare and private violence had also been devastating.” However, there are presently many thousands of individuals descended from Tasmanian Aborigines.

As a result of a combination of factors including the conflict with British settlers, deaths from introduced disease, infertility due to introduced venereal disease, the loss of women of child-bearing age who were abducted by, traded to or voluntarily chose to live with white settlers, the Tasmanians, generally estimated at between 2,000 and 8,000 individuals in 1803, were reduced to a population of around 300 by 1833, when the surviving population were relocated to Flinders Islandmarker. The remnant population continued to decline until the last surviving Tasmanian Aborigine died in 1876.

An unknown number were killed by introduced diseases, others at the hands of settlers, either in the course of raids by the Aborigines on settlers' farms and homes, in conflicts over land seizures, or murdered by Europeans who considered the Tasmanian Aborigines to be either a potential threat, or simply an inconvenience best exterminated.

After the introduction of the word genocide in the 1940s by Raphael Lemkin, Lemkin and most other comparative genocide scholars, basing their analysis on previously published histories, present the extinction of the Tasmanian Aborigines as a text book example of a genocide, however the majority of Australian experts are more circumspect,A. Dirk Moses Empire, Colony, Genocide,: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History, Berghahn Books, 2008 ISBN 1845454529, 9781845454524 See the chapter entitled "Genocide in Tasmania" by Anne Curthoys p. 240 because more recent detailed studies of the events surrounding the extinction by historians who specialise in Australian history have raised questions about some of the details and interpretations in the earlier histories.A. Dirk Moses Empire, Colony, Genocide,: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History, Berghahn Books, 2008 ISBN 1845454529, 9781845454524 See the chapter entitled "Genocide in Tasmania" by Anne Curthoys pp. 229-247A. Dirk Moses, Genocide and Settler Society: Frontier Violence and Stolen Indigenous Children in Australian History, Berghahn Books, 2004 ISBN 1571814108, 9781571814104. Chapter by Henry Reynolds "Genocide in Tasmania?" pp. 127-147. In a chapter describing these developments, Anne Curthoys concludes "It is time for a more robust exchange between genocide and Tasmanian historical scholarship if we are to understand better what did happen in Tasmania in the first half of the nineteenth century, how best to conceptualize it, and how to consider what that historical knowledge might mean for us now, morally and intellectually, in the present."A. Dirk Moses Empire, Colony, Genocide,: Conquest, Occupation, and Subaltern Resistance in World History, Berghahn Books, 2008 ISBN 1845454529, 9781845454524 See the chapter entitled "Genocide in Tasmania" by Anne Curthoys pp. 229-247


In 1986 Reynald Secher wrote a controversial book entitled: A French Genocide: The Vendée, in which he argued that the actions of the French republican government during the War in the Vendée (1793–1796), a popular Royalist uprising against the Republican government during the French Revolution, was the first "modern" genocide. Secher, Reynald. A French Genocide: The Vendée, University of Notre Dame Press, (2003), ISBN 0268028656. Secher's claims, in addition to his political and religious affiliations, caused a minor uproar in France amongst scholars of modern French history, as mainstream authorities on the period—both French and foreign—published articles contesting Secher's claims.

In the rebellion, initially the Vendée rebels gained the upper hand, so on August 1, 1793 the Committee of Public Safety ordered General Jean-Baptiste Carrier to carry out a pacification of the region. Carrier invented a variety of extremely torturous means of killing, including the Noyades ("drowning") of Nantes. The Republican army was reinforced and the Vendéan army was eventually defeated. Under orders from Committee of Public Safety in February 1794 the Republican forces launched their final "pacification" (the Vendée-Vengé or "Vendée Avenged")—twelve columns, the colonnes infernales ("infernal columns") under Louis-Marie Turreau, were marched through the Vendée, and, according to Secher, killed both rebels and civilians indiscriminately. When the campaign dragged to an end in March 1796 the estimated dead, both Republican and Royalist, numbered between 117,000 and 500,000, out of a population of around 800,000.

Claude Langlois (of the Institute of History of the French Revolution) derides Secher's allegation of genocide as "quasi-mythological". Timothy Tackett of the University of California summarizes the case as such: "In reality... the Vendée was a tragic civil war with endless horrors committed by both sides—initiated, in fact, by the rebels themselves. The Vendéeans were no more blameless than were the republicans. The use of the word genocide is wholly inaccurate and inappropriate." Hugh Gough (Professor of history at University College Dublin,) considers Secher's book an attempt at historical revisionism that is unlikely to have any lasting impact. Peter McPhee roundly criticizes Secher, including the assertion of commonality between the functions of the Republican government and Communist totalitarianism. McPhee does this by pointing to what he considers to be a number of dubious assumptions and flawed methodology on Secher's part. Other scholars who have published against Secher's thesis include: Julian Jackson (professor of history modern at the University of London), and professors of modern history and related fields François Lebrun of the University of High-Brittany-Rennes II, and of the University of Paris, I-Pantheon-Sorbonne, Paul Tallonneau Claude Petitfrère, and Jean-Clément Martin.

Peter McPhee says that the pacification the Vendée does not fit either the United Nations' CPPCG definition of genocide or that of Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn ("Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator") because the events happened in a civil war. So it was not a one-sided mass killing and the Committee of Public Safety did not intend to exterminate the whole population of Vendée as parts of the population were allied to the revolutionary government. However in Genocide and Gross Human Rights Violations Kurt Jonassohn writes "The reason we consider this a case of genocide is that exterminatory intent was clearly stated in the orders of several generals as well as in the several decrees passed by the government". Further support for Secher come from Adam Jones, who wrote in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction a summary of the Vendée uprising, citing Secher and others, supporting the view that it was a genocide, and Pierre Chaunu, a professor of history at Paris IV-Sorbonne university. Other historians have employed the term "genocide" to describe the massacres made during the civil war in the republican camp, such as Jean Tulard. Stéphane Courtois, a Director of Research at the CNRS who specializes in the history of Communism, tells of how Lenin compared the people of Vendée to the Cossacks, and expressed joy at subjecting them to the program Gracchus Babeuf, "the inventor of modern Communism", characterized as "populicide" in 1795 against the people of the Vendée. British historian Ruth Scurr states that the actions of the revolutionaries, such as mass executions by grapeshot fired from cannons and group drownings in the Vendée, constitute crimes against humanity that they would today be held accountable for under the European human rights legislation they themselves pioneered.

Secher attracted further controversy in 1991 with his publication Jews and Vendeans: From One Genocide to Another, comparing the fate of Royalist Vendeans with Jews in Nazi Germany.


In an article, We Charge Genocide: A Brief History of US in the Philippines, appearing in the December, 2005 issue of Political Affairs (an online magazine which bills itself "Marxist Thought Online"), E. San Juan, Jr., director of the Philippines Cultural Studies Center, Connecticut, argued that during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902) and pacification campaign (1902-1913), the operations launched by the U.S. against the Filipinos, an integral part of its pacification program, which claimed the lives of over a million Filipinos, constituted genocide.

In November 1901, the Manila correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger reported:"The present war is no bloodless, opera bouffe engagement; our men have been relentless, have killed to exterminate men, women, children, prisoners and captives, active insurgents and suspected people from lads of ten up, the idea prevailing that the Filipino as such was little better than a dog...."

Gore Vidal, in an exchange of letters in the New York Review of Books about the Philippines campaign says, discussing General Bell's own reporting that American troops were responsible for 600,000 dead men, women, and children on the island of Luzonmarker alone, "If this is not a policy of genocide (no dumb letters on the dictionary meaning of the word), it will do until the real thing comes along."

It should be noted that total Filipino casualties was at the time and still is a highly-debated, argued, and politicized number. A discussion and analysis of this is contained in John M. Gates, “War-Related Deaths in the Philippines”, Pacific Historical Review. It is estimated that some 34,000 Filipino soldiers lost their lives and as many as 200,000 civilians may have died directly or indirectly as a result of the war, most due to a major cholera epidemic that broke out near its end. Another estimate is that between 200,000 and 600,000 Filipinos died during the war with fewer than 5,000 American deaths. More deaths occurred during the pacification program (1902-1913) following the declaration of victory in the war. One estimate of total Filipino deaths is as high as 1.4 million.

German South-West Africa

The Herero and Namaqua Genocide in German South-West Africa (present-day Namibiamarker) in 1904–1907 was the first organized state genocide according to the UN Whitaker report (1985), the Herero were also the first ethnic group to be subjected to genocide in the 20th century. Eighty percent of the total Herero population and 50 percent of the total Nama population were killed in a brutal scorched earth campaign led by German General Lothar von Trotha.


War of the Three Kingdoms
Towards the end of the War of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1651) the English Rump Parliament sent the New Model Army to Ireland to pacify the country and to prevent Royalists loyal to Charles II from using Ireland as a base to threaten England. Initially under the command of Oliver Cromwell and later under other parliamentary generals, the New Model army set about the task with ruthless efficiency. Coupled to the war aim of securing the country for the English Parliament were several other interrelated objectives. Punitive confiscation of the lands of Irish families involved in fighting the parliamentary forces was implemented (there was a similar policy against Royalists in England who fought in the Second English Civil War). This became a continuation of the Elizabethan policy of encouraging Protestant settlement of Ireland, because New Model army soldiers—Protestant to a man and who were owed considerable back pay—could be paid in confiscated Irish lands rather than in cash raised through English parliamentary taxes.

During the Interregnum (1651–1660), this policy was enhanced with the passing of the Act of Settlement of Ireland in 1652 whose goal was a further transfer of land from Irish to English hands. The immediate war aims and the longer term policies of the English Parliamentarians resulted in an attempt by the English to transfer the native Irish Catholic population to the western fringes of Ireland to make way for Protestant settlers. This policy has been summed up by a phrase attributed to Cromwell "To Hell or to Connaught" and has been seen by some historians as a form of ethnic cleansing, if not genocide. genocidal or near-genocidal:
  • Breton, Albert (ed). 1995. Nationalism and Rationality, Cambridge University Press, Chapter Regulating nations and ethnic communities by Brendam O'Leary and John McGarry p 248. "Oliver Cromwell offered the Irish Catholics a choice between genocide and forced mass population transfer. They could go 'To Hell or to Connaught!'"
  • Coogan, Tim-Pat. 2002. The Troubles: Ireland's Ordeal and the Search for Peace. ISBN 978-0312294182. Page 6. "The massacres by Catholics of Protestants, which occurred in the religious wars of the 1640s, were magnified for propagandist purposes to justify Cromwell's subsequent genocide."
  • Ellis, Peter Berresford. 2002. Eyewitness to Irish History. John Wiley & Sons Inc. Page 108. ISBN 978-0471266334. "It was to be the justification for Cromwell's genocidal campaign and settlement."
  • Levene Mark. 2005. Genocide in the Age of the Nation-State, I.B. Tauris: London: "Considered overall, an Irish population collapse from 1.5 or possibly over 2 million inhabitants at the onset of the Irish wars in 1641, to no more than 850,000 eleven years later represents an absolutely devastating demographic catastrophe. Undoubted the largest proportion of this massive death toll did not arise from direct massacre but from hunger and then bubonic plagues, especially from the outbreak between 1649 and 1652. Even so, the relationship to the worst years of the fighting is all too apparent.

    [The Act of Settlement of Ireland], and the parliamentary legislation which succeeded it the following year, is the nearest thing on paper in the English, and more broadly British, domestic record, to a programme of state-sanctioned and systematic ethnic cleansing of another people. The fact that it did not include 'total' genocide in its remit, or that it failed to put into practice the vast majority of its proposed expulsions, ultimately, however, says less about the lethal determination of its makers and more about the political, structural and financial weakness of the early modern English state. For instance, though the Act begins rather ominously by claiming that it was not its intention to extirpate the whole Irish nation, it then goes on to list five categories of people who, as participators in or alleged supporters of the 1641 rebellion and its aftermath, would automatically be forfeit of their lives. It has been suggested that as many as 100,000 people would have been liable under these headings. A further five categories—by implication an even larger body of 'passive' supporters of the rebellion—were to be spared their lives but not their property."

Great Irish Famine
During the years of the Irish Famine, Ireland produced enough food, flax and wool not only to feed and clothe its nine million people, but enough for eighteen million. In this sense the famine was artificial, not caused by a shortage of food but by the British government's choice not to close the ports as had been done in previous Irish crop blights; as John Mitchell put it, "The Almighty sent the potato blight...but the English created the famine.".

Francis A. Boyle, a professor of International Law at the University of Illinoismarker, finding that the British violated sections (a), (b), and (c) of Article 2 of the CPPCG and committed genocide, issued a formal legal opinion to the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education on May 2, 1996, stating that "Clearly, during [the Irish Potato Famine] years [of] 1845 to 1850 the British government pursued a policy of mass starvation in Ireland with intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, and racial group commonly known as the Irish People." Law professor Charles E. Rice of Notre Damemarker likewise issued a formal opinion, also based on Article 2, that the British had committed genocide.

Contesting claims of genocide, Belfastmarker-born and Cambridgemarker-educated historian Peter Gray concludes that UK government policy "was not a policy of deliberate genocide", but a dogmatic refusal to admit that the policy was wrong which "amounted to a sentence of death to many thousands."; and Professor James S. Donnelly Jr., a historian at the University of Wisconsin–Madisonmarker, has written that "... it is also my contention that while genocide was not in fact committed, what happened during and as a result of the clearances had the look of genocide to a great many Irish..."

Records show that Ireland exported food during the Famine. When Ireland had experienced a famine in 1782–83, ports were closed to keep Irish-grown food in Ireland to feed the Irish. Local food prices promptly dropped. Merchants lobbied against the export ban, but government in the 1780s overrode their protests. No such export ban happened in the 1840s.

Cecil Woodham-Smith, an authority on the Irish Famine, wrote in The Great Hunger; Ireland 1845-1849 that, " issue has provoked so much anger or so embittered relations between the two countries (England and Ireland) as the indisputable fact that huge quantities of food were exported from Ireland to England throughout the period when the people of Ireland were dying of starvation." Ireland remained a net exporter of food throughout most of the five-year famine. However, Woodham-Smith does not accept that the famine amounted to genocide: "These misfortunes were not part of a plan to destroy the Irish nation; they fell on the people because the government of Lord John Russell was afflicted with an extraordinary inability to foresee consequences. It has been frequently declared that the parsimony of the British Government during the famine was the main cause of the sufferings of the people, and parsimony was certainly carried to remarkable lengths; but obtuseness, short-sightedness and ignorance probably contributed more." However Irish meteorologist Austin Bourke, in The use of the potato crop in pre-famine Ireland disputes some of Woodham-Smith's calculations, and notes that during December 1846 imports almost doubled. He opines that "it is beyond question that the deficiency arising from the loss of the potato crop in 1846 could not have been met by the simple expedient of prohibiting the export of grain from Ireland."

Irish historian Cormac O' Grada disagrees with the claim that the famine was genocide on two grounds: firstly, he writes, "genocide includes murderous intent and it must be said that not even the most bigoted and racist commentators of the day sought the extermination of the Irish" . and that most people in Whitehall "hoped for better times in Ireland. and secondly accusations of genocide overlook or ignore "the enormous challenges facing relief efforts, both central, local, public and private". Cormac views that a case of neglect is easier to sustain than that of genocide.

Peaking around 8-9 million in the early 19th century, Irelandmarker's population fell to around 4 million during the Famine, because of emigration and starvation.

Genocide scholar W.D. Rubinstein seems to agree with Cormac. In his book Genocide he wrote that: "The Irish Famine cannot in truth be described as an example of genocide, but nor, in truth, was it nineteenth- century Britain's finest hour."

Russian Empire

Antero Leitzinger wrote in an article called "The Circassian Genocide", initially published in the Turkistan News, that a genocide committed against the Circassian nation by Czarist Russia in the 1800s has been almost entirely forgotten, and that it was the largest genocide of the nineteenth century.

Chinese dynasties

The Bo people (僰人) disappeared after genocides.

The Dzungar (or Zunghar) Mongols who lived in an area that stretched from the west end of the Great Wall of China to present-day eastern Kazakhstan, and from present-day northern Kyrgyzstan to southern Siberia (most of this area is called Xingjiang nowadays) were the last nomadic empire to threaten China, which they did from the early 17th century to the middle of the 18th century. After a series of inconclusive military conflicts that started in the 1680s, the Dzungars were annihilated by the Manchu-led Qing dynastymarker (1644-1911) in the late 1750s. About 80% of the Dzungar population, or between 480,000 and 800,000 people, were killed between 1755 and 1758 in what "amounted to the complete destruction of not only the Zunghar state but of the Zunghars as a people." Although, according to a nineteenth-century Chinese estimate, as much as 40% of the Dzungar population may have been killed by smallpox, historian Peter Perdue has shown that the decimation of the Dzungars was the result of an explicit policy of extermination launched by the Qianlong emperor. Although this "deliberate use of massacre" has been largely ignored by modern scholars, Perdue has called it an "ethnic genocide" and argued that it brought a "final solution" to China's problems on its northwest frontier for one century. Mark Levene, a historian who specializes in the study of genocide, has stated that the extermination of the Dzungars was "arguably the eighteenth century genocide par excellence."

1915 to 1950

In 1915, during World War I, the concept of Crimes against humanity was introduced into international relations for the first time when the Allied Powers sent a correspondence to the government of the Ottoman Empire, a member of the Central Powers, over massacres the Allies alleged were taking place within the Empire. (For more details see the section Ottoman Empire ).

Ottoman Empire/Turkey

On May 24, 1915, the Allied Powers (Britain, France, and Russia) jointly issued a statement explicitly charging for the first time ever another government of committing "a crime against humanity" in reference to that regime's persecution of its Christian minorities including Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks among others. Many researches consider these events to be part of the same policy of planned ethnoreligious purification of the Turkish state followed by the Young Turks.

This joint statement stated:

"[i]n view of these new crimes of Turkey against humanity and civilization, the Allied Governments announce publicly to the Sublime Porte that they will hold personally responsible for these crimes all members of the Ottoman Government, as well as those of their agents who are implicated in such massacres".

On 15 September 2005 a United States Congressional resolution, which did not pass, on the Armenian Genocide "Calling upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide, and for other purposes." found that:

  • "The Armenian Genocide was conceived and carried out by the Ottoman Empire from 1915 to 1923, resulting in the deportation of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians, of whom 1,500,000 men, women, and children were killed, 500,000 survivors were expelled from their homes, and which succeeded in the elimination of the over 2,500-year presence of Armenians in their historic homeland."

The BBC reported that 16 December 2003, "The Swiss lower house of parliament has voted to describe the mass killings of Armenians during the last years of the Ottoman Empire as genocide. [...] Fifteen countries have now agreed to label the killings as genocide. They include France [in 2001], Argentina and Russia." On 12 October 2006, French lawmakers "approved a bill making it a crime to deny that mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during and after World War I amounted to genocide. Turkey quickly objected, with its Foreign Ministry saying that the decision "dealt a heavy blow" to Turkish-French relations and 'created great disappointment in our country.'"

However, according to some interpretations, such as that of the Prior of the Franciscan monks living in the region of where the events happened, claims this was not an act of genocide and that it was a two sided battle: "when they advanced victoriously under the protection of the Russian Army, the same spectacle occurred as in the year of 1915, but that time it was the Turks who got it in the neck. Wherever the Armenians found a Turk he was mercilessly hacked down, wherever they saw a Turkish Mosque it was plundered and set on fire. Turkish quarters went up in smoke and flames just like the Armenian quarters. You are presently about to travel round the country and you will still be able to follow in the footsteps of war: Bayburt, Erzincan, Erzurum, and Kars. You will still see smoldering heaps of rubble; you will still smell blood and corpses, but it so happens that these were Turkish corpses."

In 2005, Turkey made a proposal to form a joint historian committee between Turkish, Armenian and historians of various nationalities, who would aim to shed light on the issue of whether this was a genocide or not. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan was quoted to say that "Turkey would be willing to face whatever the result the research produces".

The Assyrian Genocide (also known as Sayfo or Seyfo; Aramaic: ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ or ܣܝܦܐ, Turkish: Süryani Soykırımı) was claimed to be committed against the Assyrian population of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War by the Young Turks. The Assyrian/Syriac population of northern Mesopotamia (Tur Abdinmarker, Hakkarimarker, Van, Siirtmarker region in modern-day southeastern Turkeymarker and Urmiamarker region in northwestern Iranmarker) was forcibly relocated and massacred by Ottoman (Turkish and Kurdish) forces between 1914 and 1920 under the regime of the Young Turks. This genocide is considered to be a part of the same policy of extermination as the Armenian Genocide and Greek genocide. The Assyro-Chaldean National Council stated in a December 4, 1922, memorandum that the total death toll is unknown, but it estimates that about 275,000 "Assyro-Chaldeans" died between 1914–1918.

The Greek genocide is a term used by some academics to refer to the fate of the Greek population of the Ottoman Empire during and in the aftermath of World War I (1914-1923). Like Armenians and Assyrians, the Greeks were subjected to various forms of persecution including massacres, expulsions, and death marches by Young Turk and Kemalist authorities. George W. Rendel of the British Foreign Office, among other diplomats, noted the massacres and deportations of Greeks during the post-Armistice period. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Ottoman Greeks may have died during this period as a result of these persecutions.

Dersim Kurds
Dersim in Turkish Kurdistan, in 1937-1938, approximately 65.000-70.000 Alevi Kurds was killed and thousands were taken into exile, Dersimmarker was depopulated. A key component of the turkification process was the policy of massive poulation resettlement. Referring to the main policy document in this context, the 1934 law on resettlement, a policy targeting the region of Dersim as one of its first test cases, with disastrous consequences for the local population.

Turkish Denial
The Republic of Turkey government disputes this interpretation supporting the genocide thesis are actually falsifications. Seen as historical revisionism by many historians, the topic is virtually taboo in Turkey. Laws like Article 301, which is amended recently, are used to bring charges against people like the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, who had stated that "Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it". However, the Turkish government states that this was a two sided battle in which Armenians, with the support of Russia on their backs, had also massacred many Turks during those times. In addition to this, the Turkish government insists every actor to check the clear definition of a genocide and claims that what it committed was not a genocide as a genocide requires it to be a "doctrine", in other words, decreed and that this was not the case for the events of 1915. Turkish authorities do acknowledge that the issue should be left to the historians and in an open letter by Prime Minister Erdogan to the U.S. President dated 10 April 2005, extended an "invitation to your country to establish a joint group consisting of historians and other experts from our two countries to study the developments and events of 1915 not only in the archives of Ottoman Empire, Turkey and Armenia but also in the archives of all relevant third countries and to share their findings with the international public". Furthermore, in spite of vehement resistance by nationalist groups, an academic conference was held on September 24, 2005 in Istanbul to discuss the early 20th century massacre of Armenians. In their book Negotiating the Sacred: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society, Elizabeth Burns Coleman and Kevin White present a list of reasons explaining Turkey's inability to admit the genocides committed by the Young Turks

Soviet Union

There are several documented instances of unnatural mass death occurring in the Soviet Union. These include the Soviet-wide famines in early 1920s and early 1930s and deportations of ethnic minorities.

During the Russian Civil War the Bolsheviks engaged in a campaign of genocide against the Don Cossacks. The most reliable estimates indicate that out of a population of three million, between 300,000 and 500,000 were killed or deported in 1919–20.

The Soviet famine of 1932-1933 that affected Ukrainemarker, Kazakhstanmarker, and some densely populated regions of Russia, has a special connotation in Ukraine where it is called the Holodomor. The famine was caused by the confiscation of the whole 1933 harvest in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, the North Caucasus, and other parts of Russia, leaving the peasants too little to feed themselves. As a result, an estimated seven million died Soviet-wide, including five million in Ukraine, one million in the North Caucasus, and one million elsewhere. Ukraine is attempting to have the latter recognised as an act of genocide.Helen Fawkes Legacy of famine divides Ukraine BBC News 24 November 2006 This move is opposed by the Russian government and some members of the Ukrainian parliament. Officially, Moscow recognises that the famine took place, but refuses to classify it as an ethnic genocide. In November 2006 during a remembrance ceremony held in Kiev, a big board listed ten other countries that recognised the Holodomor as a genocide: Australia, Argentinamarker, Georgiamarker, Estoniamarker, Italymarker, Canadamarker, Lithuaniamarker, Polandmarker, U.S.marker, Hungarymarker.


After the Nazi invasion of the Kingdom of Yugoslaviamarker, Germans established the puppet Croatian state known as Nezavisna Država Hrvatska (Independent State of Croatiamarker) or NDH. Immediately after its establishment, the NDH began a terror campaign against Serbs, Jews and Romani people. From 1941 to 1945, when Tito's partisans liberated Croatiamarker, the Ustashe regime killed more than 500,000 Serbs and almost the entire Jewish and Romani population, many of them in the Jasenovacmarker concentration camp.

Nazi Germany and occupied Europe

Because the universal acceptance of international laws, defining and forbidding genocide was achieved in 1948, with the promulgation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), those criminals who were prosecuted after the war in international courts, for taking part in the Holocaust were found guilty of crimes against humanity and other more specific crimes like murder. Nevertheless the Holocaust is universally recognized to have been a genocide and the term, that had been coined the year before by Raphael Lemkin, appeared in the indictment of the 24 Nazi leaders, Count 3, stated that all the defendants had "conducted deliberate and systematic genocide – namely, the extermination of racial and national groups..."

The term "the Holocaust" is generally used to describe the killing of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, as part of a program of deliberate extermination planned and executed by the National Socialist German Workers Party in Germany led by Adolf Hitler. A majority of scholars do not include other groups in the definition of the Holocaust, reserving the term to refer only to the genocide of the Jews, or what the Nazis called the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question."

The Holocaust was accomplished in stages. Legislation to remove the Jews from civil society was enacted years before the outbreak of World War II. Concentration camps were established in which inmates were used as slave labour until they died of exhaustion or disease. Where the Third Reich conquered new territory in eastern Europe, specialized units called Einsatzgruppenmarker murdered Jews and political opponents in mass shootings. Jews and Romani were crammed into ghettos before being transported hundreds of miles by freight train to extermination camps where, if they survived the journey, the majority of them were killed in gas chambers. Every arm of Germany's bureaucracy was involved in the logistics of the mass murder, turning the country into what one Holocaust scholar has called "a genocidal nation."

Other targets of the Nazi mass murder or "Nazi genocidal policy", included Slavs (Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Serbs, and others), Romani people (see Porajmos), mentally ill (see T-4 Euthanasia Program), Homosexuals and "sexual deviants", Jehovah's Witnesses, and political opponents. R. J. Rummel estimates that 16,315,000 people died as a result of genocide, just over 10.5 million Slavs, just under 5.3 million Jews, 258,000 Romani and 220,000 homosexuals. Donald Niewyk suggests that the broadest definition would produce a death toll of 17 million. A figure of 26 million is given in Service d'Information des Crimes de Guerre: Crimes contre la Personne Humain, Camps de Concentration. Paris, 1946, p. 197.

1951 to 2000

Universal acceptance of international laws, defining and forbidding genocide was achieved in 1948, with the promulgation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). The CPPCG was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948 and came into effect on 12 January 1951 (Resolution 260 (III)). After the minimum 20 countries became parties to the Convention, it came into force as international law on 12 January 1951. At that time however, only two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) were parties to the treaty, which caused the Convention to languish for over four decades.

Australia 1900-1969

Sir Ronald Wilson, former president of Australia's Human Rights Commission thinks that Australia's "Stolen Generation" — where from 1900 to 1970, 20,000 to 25,000 Aboriginal children were forcibly separated from their natural families (see the Bringing Them Home report)Manne, Robert The cruelty of denial, The Age, September 9, 2006 — "It clearly was attempted genocide ... [because it] was believed that the Aboriginal people would die out". However the nature and extent of the removals have been disputed within Australia, with some commentators questioning the findings contained in the report and asserting that the Stolen Generation has been exaggerated. Not only has the number of children removed from their parents been questioned, but also the intent and effects of the government policy.


In 1964, towards the end of the Zanzibar Revolution—which led to the overthrow of the Sultan of Zanzibar and his mainly Arab government by local African revolutionaries—John Okello claimed in radio speeches to have killed or imprisoned tens of thousands of his "enemies and stooges", but actual estimates of the number of deaths vary greatly, from "hundreds" to 20,000. Some Western newspapers give figures of 2,000–4,000; the higher numbers may be inflated by Okello's own broadcasts and exaggerated reports in some Western and Arab news media. The killing of Arab prisoners and their burial in mass graves was documented by an Italian film crew, filming from a helicopter, in Africa Addio. Many Arabs fled to safety in Omanmarker, and by Okello's order no Europeans were harmed. The post-revolution violence did not spread to Pemba. Leo Kuper described the killing of Arabs in Zanzibar as a genocide.

Guatemala 1968-1996

During the Guatemalanmarker civil war, some 200,000 people died. More than one million people were forced to flee their homes and hundreds of villages were destroyed. The officially chartered Historical Clarification Commission attributed more than 93% of documented violations of human rights; and that Maya Indians accounted for 83% of the victims. It concluded in 1999 that state actions constituted genocide.

In 1999, Nobel peace prize winner Rigoberta Menchú brought a case against the military leadership in a Spanish Court. Six officials, among them Efraín Ríos Montt and Óscar Humberto Mejía Victores, were formally charged on 7 July 2006 to appear in the Spanish National Court after Spain's Constitutional Court ruled in 2005 that Spanish courts can exercise universal jurisdiction over war crimes committed during the Guatemalan Civil War

Bangladesh War of 1971

In 1997 R. J. Rummel published a book which is on the web called "Statistics of Democide: Genocide and Mass Murder Since 1900", In Chapter 8 called "Statistics Of Pakistan's DemocideEstimates, Calculations, And Sources" In it he looks at the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Rummel wrote:

In East Pakistan (now Bangladeshmarker) [The President of Pakistan, General Agha Mohammed Yahya Khan, and his top generals] also planned to murder its Bengali intellectual, cultural, and political elite. They also planned to indiscriminately murder hundreds of thousands of its Hindus and drive the rest into India. And they planned to destroy its economic base to insure that it would be subordinate to West Pakistan for at least a generation to come. This plan may be perceived as genocide.

Rummel goes on to collate the what considers the most credible estimates published by others into what he calls democide. He writes that "Consolidating both ranges, I give a final estimate of Pakistan's democide to be 300,000 to 3,000,000, or a prudent 1,500,000." Other authors like Anthony Mascarenhas and Donald W. Beachler have cited a figure ranging between 1 - 3 million civilians killed by Pakistan Army; Bleacher states that both Pakistan and its primary ally USA have denied Genocide allegations.

A case was filed in the Federal Court of Australia on 20 September 2006 for alleged crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity during 1971 by the Pakistani Armed Forces and its collaborators:

On 21 May 2007, at the request of the applicant "Leave is granted to the applicant to discontinue his application filed on 20 September 2006." (FILE NO: (P)SYG2672/2006)

The Guinness Book of Records lists the atrocities in East Pakistan (Bangladesh) as one of the top 5 genocides in the 20th century.

Burundi 1972 and 1993

Since Burundimarker's independence in 1962, there have been two events called genocides in the country. The 1972 mass-killings of Hutu by the Tutsi army, and the 1993 killing of Tutsi by the Hutu population that is recognised as a genocide in the final report of the International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi presented to the United Nations Security Council in 2002. International Commission of Inquiry for Burundi: Final Report Source Name: United Nations Security Council, S/1996/682; received from Ambassador Thomas Ndikumana, Burundi Ambassador to the United States, Date received: 7 June 2002. Paragraph 496.

Equatorial Guinea

Francisco Macias Nguema was the first President of Equatorial Guineamarker, from 1968 until his overthrow in 1979. During his presidency, his country was nicknamed "the Auschwitzmarker of Africa". Nguema’s regime was characterized by its abandonment of all government functions except internal security, which was accomplished by terror; he acted as chief judge and sentenced thousands to death. This led to the death or exile of up to 1/3 of the country's population. Out of a population of 300,000, an estimated 80,000 had been killed, in particular those of the Bubi ethnic minority on Biokomarker associated with relative wealth and intellectualism. Uneasy around educated people, he had killed everyone who wore spectacles. All schools were ordered closed in 1975. The economy collapsed, and skilled citizens and foreigners left.

On August 3, 1979, he was overthrown by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo. Macias Nguema was captured, tried for genocide and other crimes along with 10 others. All of them were found guilty, four received terms of imprisonment, while Nguema and the other six were executed a few weeks later on September 29.

John B. Quigley in The Genocide Convention: An International Law Analysis points out that at Macias Nguema's trial for genocide that Equatorial Guinea had not ratified the Genocide convention and that records of the court proceedings show that there was some confusion over whether Nguema and his co-defendants were tried under the laws of Spain (the former colonial power), or whether the trial was justified on the claim that the Genocide Convention was part of customary international law. Quigley states that "The Macias case stands out as the most confusing of domestic genocide prosecutions from the standpoint of the applicable law. The Macias conviction is also problematic from the standpoint of the identity of the protected group."


The Khmer Rouge, or more formally, the Communist Party of Kampuchea, led by Pol Pot, Ta Mok and other leaders, organized the mass killing of ideologically suspect groups, ethnic minorities like the ethnic Vietnamese, Chinese (or Sino-Khmers), Chams and Thais, former civil servants, former government soldiers, Buddhist monks, secular intellectuals and professionals, and former city dwellers. Khmer Rouge cadres defeated in factional struggles were also liquidated in purges. The number of the victims is estimated at approximately 1.7 million Cambodiansmarker between 1975-1979, including deaths from slave labour. Cambodian Genocide Program, Yale University'smarker MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies

This episode is widely seen as a genocide. For example "since 1994, the award-winning Cambodian Genocide Program" has been included as part of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale University'smarker MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, and in 2003 Khieu Samphan, the Cambodian head of state under the Khmer Rouge, was quoted as saying "I have found it so difficult to believe what people told me of what happened under the Khmer Rouge regime, but today, I am very clear that there was genocide"

The killings of Cambodia's Muslim Cham population by the Khmer rouge is also considered genocide. During the massacres by the government, a disproportionate number of Chams were killed compared with ethnic Khmers. Ysa Osman, a researcher at the Documentation Center of Cambodia concludes,"Perhaps as many as 500,000 died. They were considered the Khmer Rouge's No. 1 enemy. The plan was to exterminate them all" because "they stood out. They worshiped their own god. Their diet was different. Their names and language were different. They lived by different rules. The Khmer Rouge wanted everyone to be equal, and when the Chams practiced Islam they did not appear to be equal. So they were punished."

In 1997 the Cambodian Government asked the United Nations assistance in setting up a genocide tribunal. It took nine years to agree to shape and structure of the court — a hybrid of Cambodia and international laws — before in 2006 the judges were sworn in.Doyle, Kevin. Putting the Khmer Rouge on Trial, Time, July 26, 2007 The investigating judges were presented with the names of five possible suspects by the prosecution on 18 July 2007. On 19 September 2007 Nuon Chea, second in command of the Khmer Rouge and its most senior surviving member, was charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. He will face Cambodian and foreign judges at the special genocide tribunal.

East Timor under Indonesian occupation

East Timormarker was occupied by Indonesiamarker from 1975 to 1999 as an annexed territory with Indonesian provincial status. A detailed statistical report prepared for the Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor cited a lower range of 102,800 conflict-related deaths in the period 1974-1999, namely, approximately 18,600 killings and 84,200 'excess' deaths from hunger and illness, most of which occurred during the Indonesian occupation. Earlier estimates of deaths during the occupation range from 60,000 to 200,000.

According to Sian Powell writing in The Australian, a UN report states that the Indonesian military used starvation as a weapon to exterminate the East Timorese, along with Napalm and chemical weapons, obtained from the United States, which poisoned the food and water supply. Ben Kiernan has written in War, Genocide, and Resistance in East Timor, 1975–99: Comparative Reflections on Cambodia that "the crimes committed ... in East Timor, with a toll of 150,000 in a population of 650,000, clearly meet a range of sociological definitions of genocide used by most scholars of the phenomenon, who see both political and ethnic groups as possible victims of genocide. The victims in East Timor included not only that substantial 'part' of the Timorese 'national group' targeted for destruction because of their resistance to Indonesian annexation—along with their relatives, as we shall see—but also most members of the twenty-thousand strong ethnic Chinese minority prominent in the towns of East Timor, whom Indonesian forces singled out for destruction, apparently because of their ethnicity 'as such.'" Ben Kiernan draws a comparison with the Khmer Rouge Cambodian genocide, and accuses the west of hypocrisy in ignoring one whilst protesting about the other.

Dirty War in Argentina

In September 2006, Miguel Osvaldo Etchecolatz who had been the police commissioner of the province of Buenos Aries during the Dirty War (1976–1983) was found guilty of six counts of murder, six counts of unlawful imprisonment, and seven counts of torture in a federal court. The judge of the case, Carlos Rozanski, described the offences as part of a systematic attack intended to destroy parts of society that the victims represented and as such it was genocide.Naomi Klein. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Macmillan, 2007 ISBN 0805079831, 9780805079838. pp. 100-102

Rozanski noted that the CPPCG does not include the elimination of political groups, (because that group was removed at the behest of Stalin), but instead based his findings on the 11 December 1946 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 96 barring acts of genocide "when racial, religious, political and other groups have been destroyed, entirely or in part" (which passed unanimously), because he considered the original UN definition to be more legitimate than the politically compromised CPPCG definition.

Sabra-Shatila, Lebanon

The Sabra and Shatila massacre was carried out in September 1982 against Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Lebanese Maronite Christian/Phalange militias, near the beginning of the 1982–2000 South Lebanon conflict. The number of victims of the massacre is estimated at 700-3500. Responsibility for the massacre has been attributed to the Phalangists as the perpetrators, and indirectly to Israelmarker as the occupying army.Georges Andreopoulos, Genocide. Conceptual and Historical Dimensions, p.24, 37

On December 16, 1982, the United Nations General Assembly condemned the massacre and declared it to be an act of genocide. Paragraph 2, which "resolved that the massacre was an act of genocide", was adopted by ninety-eight votes to nineteen, with twenty-three abstentions: All Western democracies abstained from voting.Leo Kuper, "Theoretical Issues Relating to Genocide: Uses and Abuses", in George J. Andreopoulos, Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997, ISBN 0812216164, p. 37.William Schabas, Genocide in International Law. The Crimes of Crimes, p. 455

According to William Schabas, director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, "the term genocide (...) had obviously been chosen to embarrass Israel rather than out of any concern with legal precision”. This opinion is a reflection of the comments made by some of the delegates who took part in the debate. While all acknowledged that it was a massacre, the claim that it was a genocide was disputed, for example the delegate for Canadamarker stated "[t]he term genocide cannot, in our view, be applied to this particular inhuman act". The delegate of Singaporemarker added that "[his] delegation regret[ted] the use of the term "an act of genocide" (...) [as] the term 'genocide' is used to mean acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group". and that "[he] also question[ned] whether the General Assembly ha[d] the competence to make such determination", and the United Statesmarker commented that "[w]hile the criminality of the massacre was beyond question, it was a serious and reckless misuse of language to label this tragedy genocide as defined in the 1948 Convention (...)".

Citing Sabra and Shatila as an example, Leo Kuper notes the reluctance of the United Nations to respond or take action in actual cases of genocide for most egregious violators, but its willingness to charge "certain vilified states, and notably Israel", with genocide. In his view:
This availability of a scapegoat state in the UN restores members with a record of murderous violence against their subjects a self-righteous sense of moral purpose as principled members of 'the community of nations'...
Estimates of the numbers killed in the Sabra-Shatila massacres range from about four hundred to eight hundred - a minor catastrophe in the contemporary statistics of mass murder.
Yet a carefully planned UN campaign found Israel guilty of genocide, without reference to the role of the Phalangists in perpetrating the massacres on their own initiative.
The procedures were unique in the annals of the United Nations.Leo Kuper, "Theoretical Issues Relating to Genocide: Uses and Abuses", in George J. Andreopoulos, Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1997, ISBN 0812216164, pp. 36-37.

In a Belgium court case lodged on 18 June 2001 by 23 survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres, the prosecution alleged that Ariel Sharon, former Israeli defense minister (and Israel's Prime Minister in 2001–2006), as well as other Israelis committed a number of crimes including genocide, because "all the constituent elements of the crime of genocide, as defined in the 1948 Convention and as reproduced in article 6 of the ICC Statute and in article 1§1 of the law of 16 June 1993,29 are present". This allegation was not tested in Belgium court because on 12 February 2003 the Court of Cassation (Belgian Supreme Court) ruled that under international customary law, acting heads of state and government can not become the object of proceedings before criminal tribunals in foreign state (although for the crime of genocide they could be the subject of proceedings of an international tribunal). This ruling was a reiteration of a decision made a year earlier by the International Court of Justice on 14 February 2002. Following these ruling in June 2003 the Belgian Justice Ministry decided to start a procedure to transfer the case to Israel, so to date the accusation that the massacres in Sabra and Shatila were a genocide has not been tested in any court.

Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

M. Hassan Kakar presents an argument in a chapter called Genocide Throughout the Country in his book The Soviet Invasion and the Afghan Response, 1979-1982 that the international definition of genocide is too restricted, and that it should include political groups or any group so defined by the perpetrator as described by Chalk and Jonassohn: “Genocide is a form of one-sided mass killing in which a state or other authority intends to destroy a group, as that group and membership in it are defined by the perpetrator.”

Having established a broader definition of Genocide Kakar goes on to claim that during the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1979–1989), "The Afghans are among the latest victims of genocide by a superpower. Large numbers of Afghans were killed to suppress resistance to the army of the Soviet Union, which wished to vindicate its client regime and realize its goal in Afghanistan. Thus, the mass killing was political."


Ethiopiamarker's former Sovietmarker-backed Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam was tried in an Ethiopian court, in absentia, for his role in mass killings. Mengistu's charge sheet and evidence list was 8,000 pages long. The evidence against him included signed execution orders, videos of torture sessions and personal testimonies. The trial began in 1994 and on 12 December 2006 Mengistu was found guilty of genocide and other offences. He was sentenced to life in prison in January 2007. Mengistu is handed life sentence BBC, January 11, 2007 It should be noted that Ethiopia defines genocide as intent to wipe out political and not just ethnic groups.106 Derg officials were accused of genocide during the trials, but only 36 of them were present in the court. Several former members of the Derg have been sentenced to death. Zimbabwe has refused to respond to Ethiopia's request that Mengistu be extradited, which has permitted Mengistu to avoid his Ethiopian life imprisonment sentence. Mengistu supported Robert Mugabe, the long-standing President of Zimbabwe, during his leadership of Ethiopia.

Some experts have estimated that 150,000 university students, intellectuals and politicians were killed during Mengistu's rule. Amnesty International estimates that up to 500,000 people were killed during the Ethiopian Red Terror Human Rights Watch describes the Red Terror as “one of the most systematic uses of mass murder by a state ever witnessed in Africa.” During his reign it was not uncommon to see students, suspected government critics or rebel sympathisers hanging from lampposts each morning. Mengistu himself is alleged to have murdered opponents by garroting or shooting them, saying that he was leading by example.

Iraqi Kurds

See also 1988 Anfal campaign

Human Rights Watch and Middle East Watch in 1993 compiled an extensive dossier on the 1986-1988 campaign against Iraqi Kurds, concluding that

The central government went much further than was required to restore its authority through legitimate military action. In the process Saddam Husseins's regime committed a panoply of war crimes, together with crimes against humanity and genocide.

On December 23, 2005 a Dutch court ruled in a case brought against Frans van Anraat for supplying chemicals to Iraq, that "[it] thinks and considers legally and convincingly proven that the Kurdish population meets the requirement under the genocide conventions as an ethnic group. The court has no other conclusion that these attacks were committed with the intent to destroy the Kurdish population of Iraq." and because he supplied the chemicals before 16 March 1988, the date of the Halabja poison gas attackmarker he is guilty of a war crime but not guilty of complicity in genocide.


On 5 June 1959 Shri Purshottam Trikamdas, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of Indiamarker, presented a report on Tibet to the International Commission of Jurists (an NGO). The press conference address on the report states in paragraph 26 that

On 11 January 2006 it was reported that the Spanish High Court will investigate whether seven former Chinese officials, including the former President of China Jiang Zemin and former Prime Minister Li Peng participated in a genocide in Tibet. This investigation follows a Spanish Constitutional Court (26 September 2005) ruling that Spanish courts could try genocide cases even if they did not involve Spanish nationals. The court proceedings in the case brought by the Madrid-based Committee to Support Tibet against several former Chinese officials was opened by the Judge on 6 June 2006, and on the same day China denounced the Spanish court's investigation into claims of genocide in Tibet as an interference in its internal affairs and dismissed the allegations as "sheer fabrication".

To date the trial seems inconclusive.


The Helmet Massacre of the Tikuna peoplemarker took place in 1988, and was initially treated as homicide. Since 1994 it has been treated by the Brazilianmarker courts as a genocide. Thirteen men were convicted of genocide in 2001. In November 2004 at the appeal before Brazil's federal court, the man initially found guilty of hiring men to carry out the genocide was acquitted, and the other men had their initial sentences of 15–25 years reduced to 12 years.

In November 2005 during an investigation by the Brazilian authorities, code-named Operation Rio Pardo, Mario Lucio Avelar, a Brazilian public prosecutor in the city of Cuiabámarker, told Survival International that he believed there were sufficient grounds to prosecute for genocide of the Rio Pardo Indians. In November 2006 twenty-nine people were held in custody for the alleged genocide with others such as a former police commander and the governor of Mato Grosso state implicated in the alleged.

In a newsletter published on 7 August 2006 the Indianist Missionary Council reported that: "In a plenary session, the [Brazilian] Supreme Federal Court (STF) reaffirmed that the crime known as the Haximu Massacre [perpetrated on the Yanomami Indians in 1993] Supreme Court upholds genocide ruling, Survival International 4 August 2006 was a genocide and that the decision of a federal court to sentence miners to 19 years in prison for genocide in connection with other offenses, such as smuggling and illegal mining, is valid. It was a unanimous decision made during the judgment of Extraordinary Appeal (RE) 351487 today, the 3rd, in the morning by justices of the Supreme Court". Commenting on the case the NGO Survival International said "The UN convention on genocide, ratified by Brazil, states that the killing 'with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group' is genocide. The Supreme Court's ruling is highly significant and sends an important warning to those who continue to commit crimes against indigenous peoples in Brazil."

Democratic Republic of Congo

During the Congo Civil War, Pygmies were hunted down and eaten by both sides of the war, who regarded them as subhuman. Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of Mbuti pygmies, has asked the UN Security Council to recognize cannibalism as a crime against humanity and an act of genocide. According to a report by Minority Rights Group International there is evidence of mass killings, cannibalism and rape. The report, which labeled these events as a campaign of extermination, linked much of the violence to beliefs about special powers held by the Bambuti. In Ituri district, rebel forces ran an operation code-named “Effacer le tableau” (to wipe the slate clean). The aim of the operation, according to witnesses, was to rid the forest of pygmies.


The government of Azerbaijan claims that Armenian forces performed acts of genocide against Azerbaijani civilians on several occasions throughout the 20th century. The claims center on Azeri massacres in 1918 as well as the Nagorno-Karabakh War. Human Rights Watch described the events in the Khojaly Massacremarker as "the largest massacre to date in the conflict", and 30 from 636 members of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, recognized the "massacres perpetrated by the Armenians against the Azeri population from the beginning of the 19th Century" as genocide. The description of the events as 'genocide' appears to have no support from academic and independent sources, and has been contested by genocide scholar Donald Bloxham.

West New Guinea / West Papua

In 2004 the Yale University Law School published "Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control", a 75-page report on the applicability of Indonesian control to each of the genocide conventions. During 2005, the Sydney University Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies published "Genocide in West Papua? The role of the Indonesian state apparatus and a current needs assessment of the Papuan people", a report on the current conditions of the territory. The report estimated more than 100,000 Papuans have died since Indonesia took control of West New Guineamarker from the Dutch Government in 1963. Others previously specified higher death tolls.

Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankanmarker government has been accused of the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka including pogroms such as Black July and the war that followed it which has killed over 100,000 peoplewhile the Tamil militant group LTTE has been accused of killing Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Moors.[87076]

International prosecution of genocide

Ad hoc tribunals

In 1951 only two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC) were parties to the CPPCG: Francemarker and the Republic of Chinamarker. The CPPCG was ratified by the Soviet Unionmarker in 1954, the United Kingdommarker in 1970, the People's Republic of Chinamarker in 1983 (having replaced the Taiwan-based Republic of China on the UNSC in 1971), and the United Statesmarker in 1988. So it was only in the 1990s that the international law on the crime of genocide began to be enforced.

Bosnia and Herzegovina 1992-1995

In 2001 the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslaviamarker (ICTY) found General Krstić guilty of genocide for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica Genocide, thereby making it the first ever legally determined act of genocide by an international tribunal. This judgement was upheld by the International Court of Justicemarker (ICJ) in its February 2007 ruling in the case of Bosnia vs Serbia. However, contrary to the claim made by Bosnia, the ICJ did not find that genocide had been committed on the wider territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war, limiting local genocide to the Srebrenica. Before this ruling the term Bosnian Genocide had been used by some academics, and human rights officials.

German courts have handed down several convictions for genocide during the Bosnian War. Novislav Djajic was indicted for participation in genocide, but the Higher Regional Court failed to find that there was sufficient certainty, for a criminal conviction, that he had intended to commit genocide. Nevertheless Djajic was found guilty of 14 cases of murder and one case of attempted murder. At Djajic's appeal on 23 May 1997, the Bavarianmarker Appeals Chamber found that acts of genocide were committed in June 1992, confined within the administrative district of Focamarker. The Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Dusseldorf, in September 1997, handed down a genocide conviction against Nikola Jorgic, a Bosnian Serb from the Dobojmarker region who was the leader of a paramilitary group located in the Doboj region. He was sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment for his involvement in genocidal actions that took place in regions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, other than Srebrenica; and "On 29 November 1999, the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht) of Dusseldorf condemned Maksim Sokolovic to 9 years in prison for aiding and abetting the crime of genocide and for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions".


The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwandamarker (ICTR) is a court under the auspices of the United Nations for the prosecution of offenses committed in Rwandamarker during the genocide which occurred there during April and May, 1994, commencing on April 6. The ICTR was created on November 8, 1994 by the Security Council of the United Nations in order to judge those people responsible for the acts of genocide and other serious violations of the international law performed in the territory of Rwanda, or by Rwandan citizens in nearby states, between January 1 and December 31, 1994.

So far, the ICTR has finished nineteen trials and convicted twenty-five accused persons. Another twenty-five persons are still on trial. Nineteen are awaiting trial in detention. Ten are still at large. The first trial, of Jean-Paul Akayesu, began in 1997. Jean Kambanda, interim Prime Minister, pled guilty.

International Criminal Court

The ICC can only prosecute crimes which were committed on or after 1 July 2002.

Darfur, Sudan

See also: Second Sudanese Civil War, Darfur conflict

The on-going conflict in Darfurmarker, Sudanmarker, which started in 2003, was declared a "genocide" by United States Secretary of State Colin Powell on September 9, 2004 in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Since that time however, no other permanent member of the UN Security Council has followed suit. In fact, in January 2005, an International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur, authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1564 of 2004, issued a report to the Secretary-General stating that "the Government of the Sudan has not pursued a policy of genocide." , January 25, 2005, at 4 Nevertheless, the Commission cautioned that "The conclusion that no genocidal policy has been pursued and implemented in Darfur by the Government authorities, directly or through the militias under their control, should not be taken in any way as detracting from the gravity of the crimes perpetrated in that region. International offences such asthe crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide."In March 2005, the Security Council formally referred the situation in Darfur to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, taking into account the Commission report but without mentioning any specific crimes. Two permanent members of the Security Council, the United Statesmarker and Chinamarker, abstained from the vote on the referral resolution. As of his fourth report to the Security Council, the Prosecutor has found "reasonable grounds to believe that the individuals identified [in the UN Security Council Resolution 1593] have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes," but did not find sufficient evidence to prosecute for genocide.

In April 2007, the Judges of the ICC issued arrest warrants against the former Minister of State for the Interior, Ahmad Harun, and a MilitiaJanjaweed leader, Ali Kushayb, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

On July 14, 2008, prosecutors at the International Criminal Court (ICC), filed ten charges of war crimes against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder. The ICC's prosecutors have claimed that al-Bashir "masterminded and implemented a plan to destroy in substantial part" three tribal groups in Darfur because of their ethnicity. The ICC's prosecutor for Darfur, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, is expected within months to ask a panel of ICC judges to issue an arrest warrant for al-Bashir. On 4 March 2009 the ICC issued a warrant for al-Bashir's arrest for crimes against humanity and crimes, but not genocide. This is the first warrant issued by the ICC against a sitting head of state.

See also


  1. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
  2. Frank Chalk, Kurt Jonassohn The History and Sociology of Genocide: Analyses and Case Studies, Yale University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-300-04446-1
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  4. Jones References, p.4 note 12 Eric s. Margolis War at the top of the World, the struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet (New York, Routledge, 2001) p.155
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  7. Jennings, p. 83; Royal's quote
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  10. David Stannard (1992). American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508557-4. "During the course of four centuries - from the 1490s to the 1890s - Europeans and white Americans engaged in an unbroken string of genocide campaigns against the native peoples of the Americas." ( p.147). "[It] was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world."( Prologue)
  11. David Cesarani, Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, Routledge, 2004. (p. 381)
  12. David E. Stannard, American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World, Oxford University Press, 1993.
  13. David Cesarani, Holocaust: Critical Concepts in Historical Studies, Routledge, 2004. (p. 380–381).
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  102. R.J. Rummel states elsewhere that there are three definitions of genocide, and it is not clear which one he is using in this table. See the section in this article "Alternative meanings of genocide" for more details on this issue.
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  114. Staff. pastgenocides, Burundi resources] on the website of Prevent Genocide International lists the following resources: *Michael Bowen, Passing by;: The United States and genocide in Burundi, 1972, (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1973), 49 pp. *René Lemarchand, Selective genocide in Burundi (Report - Minority Rights Group; no. 20, 1974), 36 pp. *Rene Lemarchand, Burundi: Ethnic Conflict and Genocide (New York: Woodrow Wilson Center and Cambridge University Press, 1996), 232 pp. *Edward L. Nyankanzi, Genocide: Rwanda and Burundi (Schenkman Books, 1998), 198 pp. *Christian P. Scherrer, Genocide and crisis in Central Africa: conflict roots, mass violence, and regional war; foreword by Robert Melson. Westport, Conn. : Praeger, 2002. *Weissman, Stephen R. " Preventing Genocide in Burundi Lessons from International Diplomacy", United States Institute of Peace
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  116. Coup plotter faces life in Africa's most notorious jail
  117. True hell on earth: Simon Mann faces imprisonment in the cruellest jail on the planet
  118. If you think this one's bad you should have seen his uncle
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  139. Ethiopian leader guilty of genocide TVNZ, December 13, 2006
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  142. 'Butcher of Addis Ababa' is guilty of genocide with torture regime
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  144. US admits helping Mengistu escape BBC, 22 December, 1999
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  149. Dutch man sentenced for role in gassing death of Kurds CBC News 23 December 2005
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  154. Eamonn McCann. Longing for a saviour Belfast Telegraph, May 24, 2007
  155. Top officials accused of genocide of Indians, Survival International , 13 December 2005
  156. Federal Court is competent to judge the Haximu genocide Indianist Missionary Council
  157. Pygmies struggle to survive
  158. DR Congo Pygmies appeal to UN
  159. DR Congo Pygmies 'exterminated'
  160. Pygmies today in Africa
  161. rebels 'eating pygmies'
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  163. Report claims secret genocide in Indonesia - University of Sydney
  164. West Papua Support
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  170. The Times, Tamils kill 116 Muslims, August 13, 1990
  171. Associated Press, Tamil Rebels Order Muslims to Leave City, June 17, 1995
  172. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia found in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic - Trial Chamber I - Judgment - IT-98-33 (2001) ICTY8 (2 August 2001) that genocide had been committed. (see paragraph 560 for name of group in English on whom the genocide was committed). The judgement was upheld in Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic - Appeals Chamber - Judgment - IT-98-33 (2004) ICTY 7 (19 April 2004)
  173. University of California Riverside: * HNPG 036P (or 033T) History: Bosnian Genocide In the Historical Perspective * Winter 2007 Honors Courses & Winter 2008 Honors Courses
  174. Human Rights Watch: Milosevic to Face Bosnian Genocide Charges 11 December 2001
  175. Novislav Djajic, TRIAL (Track Impunity Always)
  176. Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic - Trial Chamber I - Judgment - IT-98-33 (2001) ICTY8 (2 August 2001), The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, paragraph 589. citing Bavarian Appeals Court, Novislav Djajic case, 23 May 1997, 3 St 20/96, section VI, p. 24 of the English translation.
  177. Oberlandesgericht Dusseldorf, "Public Prosecutor v Jorgic", 26 September 1997 (Trial Watch Nikola Jorgic
  178. Trial watch Maksim Sokolovic
  179. These figures need revising they are from the ICTR page which says see
  180. Article 11 of the Rome Statute. Retrieved 20 March 2008.
  181. ICC: About the court,ICC website. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
  182. POWELL DECLARES KILLING IN DARFUR 'GENOCIDE', The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Sep. 9, 2004
  184. , Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Dec. 14, 2006.
  185. Statement by Mr. Luis Moreno Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to the United Nations Security Council pursuant to UNSCR 1593 (2005), International Criminal Court, 5 June 2008
  186. Staff. Warrant issued for Sudan's leader, BBC, 4 March 2009


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