・実施期間 ： 2002年4月～2004年3月
・第1回ワークショップ ： 2003年3月24～28日、広島平和研究所
・第2回ワークショップ ： 2004年3月22～26日、広島平和研究所
Comparative Research into Genocide and Mass Violence
(By Christian P. Scherrer, Professor at HPI)
Genocide in the Twentieth Century
– Cases and Key Issues Compared
– Criteria, Common Elements, and Patterns
– Approaches for Remedies
Documenting genocide in the modern age is one of the most delicate and sensitive matters. Those who work on projects such as documenting modern genocides are aware of the fact that they are dealing with one of the most important and contentious themes of our times. Unfortunately, genocide is not something of the past. Today gross human rights violations, atrocities, and several cases of outright genocide cause havoc in many regions of the world and result (e.g. Central Africa and Southeast Asia) in whole populations being petrified in fear and traumatization. Violence kills not only humans but also life chances for those who survive.
The worst kind of destructive interactions between different ethnic or national groups (one of them in control of state machinery) is genocide and mass murder. Genocide is the most barbaric crime and has long-term effects.
Definition of genocide in the Convention as a starting point
Scholars do not have to define genocide. This worst possible crime is defined and codified in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide of 9 December 1948, which entered into force on January 12, 1951. The definition in Article 2 reads as follows:
“[G]enocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (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.”
In Article 1 the convention declares that “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.” In Article 3 the punishable acts are listed: “The following acts shall be punishable: (a) Genocide; (b) Conspiracy to commit genocide; (c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide; (d) Attempt to commit genocide; (e) Complicity in genocide.
The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in its Articles 5, 6 and 7 further defines genocide and crimes against humanity.
Cold-blooded state-organized mass murder: minor frequency but huge magnitude
Cold-blooded state-organized mass murder is not an exceptional crime. According to the ECOR conflict index 1985-2004, genocides and mass murders of defenceless victims account for two percent of all conflicts. Despite the low number, this is an alarming sign and a matter of most serious concern. The number of victims of genocide and mass violence is much higher than the statistics suggests; the small number of genocidal mass violence belies a higher mortality than that of all other conflicts combined.
An example to illustrate the magnitude of the crime in cases of genocide-in-whole (a term used in the Anti-Genocide Convention): the state-organised genocide in Rwanda 1994 alone took one million lives in a period of 99 days; this incredible number of victims is more than three times the number of victims produced by all violent conflicts in the former Soviet Union and in former Yugoslavia 1989-2000 combined. Earlier, Rummel argued that the death toll of what he called democide was several times higher than that of wars in the 20th century up to the time of his writing.
Genocide is the most severe type of violent conflict and must be clearly distinguished from warfare; its victims are civilians, including old people, children, and even babies. Contemporary mass violence is intrinsically linked with the ethnicization-from-above and the ongoing wave of ethnic nationalism-from-below. Unlike most new types of warfare, such as gang wars, wars caused by warlordism, organized crime and international terrorism, communal strife and most interethnic conflicts, genocide is always a state-organized crime.
Genocide has a long and dreadful history
One of the most important observations for the period of 1500 to 1910 is that genocide and colonization were closely linked. The largest ever genocide in modern history was committed by half a dozen European states in what was later called the Third World. Large-scale genocides were committed against American Indians, Africans and Afro-Americans, the Australian Aborigines and a large number of subjugated peoples in European colonies. According to Darcy Ribero, Indians of the Americas were reduced by the Spaniards in the South and European settlers in the North from 80 million in 1492 to 3.5 million in 1750. Genocide against Indians has continued until today, e.g. in Paraguay, Guatemala, and Brazil. Since 1500 Africa has lost one hundred million people to European slavery. Most enslaved Africans died under genocidal conditions during mass transport from Africa to the Americas. Genocide against Africans was continued by the infamous lynching campaigns in Southern USA. It is important to understand that genocide was an inherent part of the general practice employed by virtually all European powers throughout the colonial period, with Belgium, Germany and Britain ranking after Spain. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries the largest genocide went on for decades in the Congo Free State; heinous techniques used by the Germans against the Herero and Nama in Southwest Africa and against the peoples of South Tanganyika became part of the sad chronicle of the modern genocides.
Paradigmatic change and domestic genocide-in-whole in the 20th century
From 1910 onwards genocide underwent a paradigmatic change from foreign colonial genocide to state-organized domestic genocide. The type of total domestic genocide involved aggression of the state, in the hands of a dominant ethnic or political group, against one or more minorities on the territory of the state. The worst cases were the genocides-in-whole (the Aghet, Khmer Rouge genocide 1975-1979, and Hutu power genocide in Rwanda 1994).
The Holocaust, another of the 20th century’s four “Genocides-in-whole” (according to the UN Convention), is often seen as the prototype or model genocide in modern times. This view is deeply erroneous, as explained briefly hereafter.
When Nazi rule started in 1933 it was immediately accompanied by domestic political mass murder. Before the start of the aggression wars the Nazis committed mass murder of their archenemies, the German communists, trade unionists and socialists and a few others from among the political opposition. They also began the “euthanasia” programme: the first people to be gazed and cremated were domestic disabled people.
As mentioned, the domestic opposition, the communists and trade unionists, were the first to be assaulted and killed, more than six years before the Nazis started mass executions of Jews, Romas and others in the East (in 1939) and long before the death camps were operating (from 1942). This has been well-hidden in West Germany (as opposed to the former German Democratic Republic or East Germany). In Germany and beyond it is almost unknown by most of the post-war generation and rarely publicly admitted that the communists were the strongest resistors against the Nazis and hence their first victims. Communists were the very first inmates of the jails and later of the so-called “concentration camps.” It is also quite unknown that the first victims to be gazed in Auschwitz and in other death camps were hundred thousands of Soviet POWs; millions more were starved or worked to death. The highest numbers of Nazi victims-more than thirty million-were from among Slavic nations and peoples all over Eastern Europe, with Russians, Poles and Serbs being the most severely and foremost targeted groups.
Though some domestic genocides had considerable or even vast spill-over effects on neighbouring states or entire regions, in terms of large refugee flights, infiltration of genocidal elements and disruption of security, as the worst contemporary example, the dire situation in the Central African Great Lakes region, put into turmoil by the export of the Rwandan genocide (with no end in sight), shows with devastating clarity, in the case of the Holocaust the outreach of the genocide plan and the factual execution of it was going far beyond a single country or even a region.
The singularity of the Holocaust
Compared to its key features the Holocaust represents a different type and a singular case rather than a prototype for other genocides: neither a colonial nor a domestic genocide-in-whole. This genocide-in-whole represents a truly new form of genocide, different from the colonial precedents as well as going far beyond domestic genocide.
Nazi Germany, the country of origin of the Holocaust, extended into some 20 countries and territories of Eurasia, which can be subdivided into several types-again with very different treatments applied: the allies of Germany (the Axis powers), other fascist or authoritarian vassal states such as Croatia or Hungary, territories with large numbers of collaborators such as Austria, the Baltic states, half of White Russia, the Western Ukraine, parts of the Caucasus and Rumania, many Belgians, many Dutch and some French, as well as the states and territories with less enthusiastic support and underground resistance all over Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, which were all invaded and subdued by the German armies, their allies and local collaborators.
Only a few of these countries and territories were occupied as long and ravaged as devastating as Poland, Raphael Lemkin’s homeland, the country that once had one of the largest populations of Jews in the world, almost as many as in the former USSR and in the USA. After more than five years of Nazi occupation and genocide, early in 1945, only a few thousand humans looking like skeletons were liberated by the Red Army in Auschwitz and other death camps.
In many ways the Holocaust is a reminder of the Mongolian storm across Eurasia, and it may have been as destructive and could prove as lasting in its consequences. This includes its ongoing aftermath in the Middle East with the foundation of Israel carved out of Palestine as one of the Holocaust’s most disturbing and enduring consequences. The Nazis singled out even a higher number of targeted victim groups then the Mongols. In the death camps the victims were separated into many different groups, with different treatments applied to them; they had to wear over 20 different sign marks to be easily recognizable to their tormentors.
Comparative genocide research at its beginning
Comparative genocide research is still at its beginning and suffers from a number of deficiencies, which concern many other destructive forms of interaction between states and nations/nationalities. Destructive interactions take the form of forced assimilation of non-dominant groups; territorial invasion of minority areas by state actors; settlement policy enforced in indigenous territories; infiltration of homelands of minorities or indigenous groups; forced and massive transfers of populations and forced resettlement; “ethnic cleansing”; expulsion; and deportation.
Mass murder of members of non-dominant domestic groups (with the state conferring impunity on the killers/executioners) is the worst form of destructive interaction between states and nations/nationalities. Especially, state-organized mass murders and crimes against humanity in general, such as ethnocides, democides, politicides, and genocides (as the worst possible crimes) have great impacts on international relations. They cause enormous human suffering and affect the stability of entire world regions -as recent cases in Southeast-Asia and Central Africa have graphically shown. Nonetheless, there are still only a few large-scale research projects that attempt to develop theoretical findings anchored in empirical studies.
Objectives of the proposed international research project
The particular character of any situation of violent conflict is best assessed and analyzed in the well-defined historical and regional contexts of individual case studies/monographs. This international research project aims at comparing case studies on genocides and other instances of mass violence, elaborate criteria and elements of comparison, investigate common patterns and draw conclusions for future comparative studies to follow up.
So far, there have been limited systematic efforts in this field. One reason is the difficult relationship between theory and empirical studies. Theorists often talk about genocide and mass murder committed somewhere and wars fought in faraway places without ever gaining a sufficient amount of practical knowledge about any given violent conflict, thus without truly knowing the horrors of mass violence. On the other hand, empiricists tend to extrapolate too much from a particular experience.
An appropriate approach should try to realize a genuine combination of these two types of research. However, there are only very few research projects that achieve such a combination, not to mention taking a step beyond toward practical action of peace-building.
There has been no systematic research conducted on the prevention of genocide nor is there a comprehensive and accountable policy of the international community to prevent all-out mass violence against non-dominant groups.
The task of genocide prevention
Genocide prevention and elimination is a humanitarian imperative after a century of genocides, marked by the most disturbing negative “dialectics” of modernity and barbarism. On the 50th anniversary of the Anti-Genocide Convention (December, 1998), the United Nations was called upon to amend the Convention comprehensively. The Convention itself had not been applied, either by the parties involved or by the United Nations. In Rwanda in 1994 one of four total genocides of the 20th century (after the Aghet, Holocaust and Cambodian genocide) was committed, with the United Nations (Security Council) paralyzed, the U.S. denying the reality and France in complicity with its Rwandan client regime.
Genocide prevention ought to become a policy applied by all states and its methods should be standardized internationally. Mass murder as a possible option for failed or aggressive states to deal with minorities must be outlawed once and for all. If attempts to prevent mass violence and genocide are to be successful, then comparative research must contribute to that effort. Certainly, there is no simple cure-all.
A tentative list of issues and cases
The project will investigate the four cases of total domestic genocide in the 20th century (Aghet, Holocaust, Cambodia and Rwanda) and a number of genocides-in-part. Case studies and their comparison will be combined with studies on legal and other thematic issues, methodological issues of comparative approaches as well as a discussion on ways to prevent and eliminate genocide.
The tentative list of almost fifty issues and cases is divided in five section: (A) Basic thematic topics, (B) Case studies and their comparison, (C) Comparative studies, (D) Further thematic and comparative issues, and (E) Remedies: Approaches, means, ways, initiatives and actors.
(A) Basic thematic topics
- Definitions, criteria of comparison and fine-tuning of legal, sociological and historic concepts such as genocide, crimes against humanity, nuclear extermination, mass violence, mass murder, indiscriminate bombing, massacres and “ethnic cleansing”
- Elaboration of analytical categories of comparison (framework, context and general conditions; key elements and core issues; the aftermath: accountability for crimes, denial, and memory of the victims) and other comparative elements
- Stages of genocide
- Raphael Lemkin’s work, the definition of genocide and the UN convention
- Genocide, Crimes against Humanity and war crimes in international law
(B) Case studies and their comparison
- Colonial genocides against indigenous peoples: in the Americas, Australia, the Belgian Congo, German Southwest Africa (against the Herero and Nama), other cases
- Continuation of colonial genocide by regimes and/or settlers in former colonies (e.g., in Burma/Myanmar, Sudan, India, CHT, Amazonia, etc.)
- Turkish genocide of Armenians (Aghet), Ponthian Greeks and Assyrians in Turkey, 1914-23
- Japanese atrocities in Asia-Pacific 1890 to 1945
- The rape of Nanjing 1937-1938
- Holocaust: aggression wars and genocide 1933-1945, by the Nazi German state and its allies of European Jews (Shoah), Roma (Porrajmos), Russians and other Slavic peoples, as well as mass murders of POWs, foreign slave workers, domestic disabled people and the domestic political opposition
- The Former Yugoslavia from the 1940-1945 Ustasha genocide of Serbs, Roma and Jews, with Muslims and Albanians as willing executioners for the Axis powers, and its revival 1990-2004 in Bosnia, Croatia and the Kosovo
- The “nuclear holocaust,” the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the USA, on August 6 and 9, 1945, with overwhelming genocidal effect
- The partition of British India in 1947 and ongoing massacres/riots mainly targeting Muslims
- Burma since 1948: military junta (of ethnic Burmans) vs. its opponents among Burmans and 70 minorities
- Sudan since 1955: Northern minority regimes and military (based on support among Arabs and Arabized Nubians) vs. the Dinka, Nuer, Shilluk, and other African peoples in the South, the Nuba in central Sudan, the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa in West Sudan since 2003 and the Beja in eastern Sudan since the 1980s
- Central Africa since 1959, as partial and total genocide: Hutu-power genocide in Rwanda 1994 by the akazu elite in conspiracy with France, using the state apparatus, Hutu-power factions and a huge number of common people against the Tutsi branch of the Banyarwanda and opponents among the Hutu; partial genocide 1959, 1961, 1063-64, 1972; destructive interaction with Burundi and its 1972 and 1993 genocides an ongoing massacres
- Indonesia 1965: TNI regime and Islamic gangs against communists and others, with most victims alleged PKI members from Java, Bali, and other parts of Indonesia; decades of atrocities in West Papua and Aceh: 1993 and 1998 upheavals targeting Chinese minority
- East Timor 1975-1999: TNI invaders vs. Timorese; following Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor in Dec 1975, targeting of the Chinese minority, along with indigenous Timorese; Portuguese ex-colony annexed by Indonesia until late 1999, independent in May 2002
- Genocide in East Pakistan / Bangla Desh 1972, with US complicity but saved by India
- Khmer Rouge genocide in Kampuchea 1975-1979 of Vietnamese, Cham Muslim and Chinese minorities as well as Khmer urban classes and Buddhist monks (the latter genocide of a religious group under the UN Convention)
- Genocides against American Indians: in the 1970s against the Ache in Paraguay, in the 1980s against Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan majority by the Rios Montt regime, in the 1990s against the Yanomami and other low-land Indian peoples in the Amazon region
- USA-UK radiological warfare 1991 until today with internationally banned uranium weapons and ammunitions
- Genocide by the Anglo-American manipulation of the most severe and comprehensive UN sanctions ever imposed in the history of the world organization: on Iraq (1990-2003)
(C) Comparative studies
- Comparative findings: common elements, similarities and patterns
- Genocide by famine or attrition (Ukraine, Sudan, Iraq, a/o)
- Gendercide: discussion of the concept and cases
- Comparing genocides-in-whole in the 20th century
- Comparing selected total and partial genocides
- Comparing colonial and modern genocide
- Comparing contemporary genocide and mass violence in South and Southeast Asia
(D) Further thematic and comparative issues
- Registry of Contemporary Genocide and Mass Violence
- Under-researched: the constitutive role of conspiracy to genocide (Aghet, Rwanda 1994, a/o)
- The conspiracy of silence (Holocaust, Stalin’s crimes, US crimes in Western media, a/o)
- Complicity to genocide-under the cover of the Cold War
- Under-researched: Complicity to genocide by international donors and development assistance
- Genocide as ethnic category killing: Comparing state responses to ethno-nationalism from below
- The role of the mass media in inciting violence and genocide (Nazi Germany 1930s to 1945, Rwanda 1959 to 1994, Cote d’Ivoire 2004, etc.)
- The survivors and sufferers of genocide: analysis and comparison of their enduring psychological, social, economical and political problems
- Tales and testimonies conveyed by survivors of genocide
(E) Remedies: Approaches, means, ways, initiatives and actors
- Approaches to remedies: causality, typology, and prevention of genocide
- Justice after genocide: comparison of Aghet, Holocaust, Cambodian and Rwandan genocides
- Reparation and rehabilitation of the victims of genocide-a dark chapter of humanity: a comparative study
- The role of the United Nations and of the world’s civil society actors in prevention genocide
- Enhancing accountability and deterrence: the role and performance of the ad-hoc international criminal courts, attempts to universal jurisdiction (Belgium, Spain, Senegal, a/o) and the International Criminal Court, ICC
- After the start: the promise of justice, political realities and the ICC
- Steps towards a policy of genocide prevention and its elimination, taking up the open ends of Holocaust memorial conferences and the Elmau Initiative
- Preparing the establishment of an international task force on the prevention of genocide and mass murder
April 2002 – 2004
Time Schedule and Activities
(1) End of June 2002: most invited experts and colleagues were approached.
(2) August 2002: e-mail correspondence and choice of additional case studies; who is going to participate by researching which particular topic
(3) Fall 2002: topics are finalized; e-debates between individual participants
(4) Ongoing e-mail debates between participants on points 1-3, choice of additional issues, case studies and issues, third progress report
(5) Nov. 2002: first debates on issues later to be worked out, such as common elements and patterns and approaches for remedies and prevention
(6) Until January 2003: all contributions will be ready and circulated
(7) February 2003: contributions are discussed by e-mail
(8) March 24-29, 2003, a five-day workshop is organized in Hiroshima, with all authors (except for Prof. Rummel) participating. March is also a very pleasant season in Hiroshima–with the famous cherry blossoms starting to appear. Typically late March is a festival time in Japan with thousands picnicking under cherry trees.
(9) Approval of budget for 2004/2005. The second phase concentrates on a synthesis of findings and possible remedies; first search of a first-rate publisher
(10) Fall 2003: alternative proposals; if necessary search for possible new participants for certain issues / case studies, progress report sent
(11) Fall 2003: Preparation of the second workshop March 22-26, 2004
(12) End of January 2004: all contributions will be ready and circulated
(13) February 2004: contributions are discussed by e-mail; tentative agenda discussed in the second part of February; agenda finalized early March
(14) 22 to 26 March 2004, a five-day workshop on additional case-studies and issues, as well as preliminary synthesis of findings and outlines of possible remedies is organized in Hiroshima, with all authors participating;
(15) Mid 2004, submitting of the manuscript of vol. 1 for publication
(16) Submitting of the follow-on project Genocide and Genocide Prevention-From a Comparative Perspective
(17) Brainstorming amongst participants for preparing of the Hiroshima Initiative; followed by the compiling of contributions
(18) 3rd Hiroshima workshop, 21-25 March 2005: Deepening the debate on issues and the invitation of additional participants.
(19) 4rd Hiroshima workshop in 20-24 March 2006: Perspectives of genocide prevention: Recasting the Stop Genocide Initiative, Steps to re-launch the Elmau Initiative
(20) Mid 2006: submitting of the manuscript of vol. 2 for publication
(21) Launching of the Hiroshima Initiative to Stop Genocide and Mass Murder, as continuation and incorporation of the Elmau Initiative
Project Members 2003-2004
- Prof. M. Cherif Bassiouni (USA)
- Prof. Paul R. Brass (USA)
- Prof. Dr. Israel W. Charny
- Prof. Dr. Robert Cribb (Australia)
- Prof. Dr. Vahakn Dadrian (USA)
- Prof. Dr. Geoffrey Gunn (Japan)
- Dr. Henry Huttenbach (USA)
- Dr. Adam Jones (Mexico)
- Prof. Dr. Ben Kiernan (USA)
- Prof. Uwe Makino (Japan）
- Prof. Dr. Robert Melson (USA)
- Linda Melvern (UK)
- Prof. Dr. Mitsuo Okamoto (Japan)
- Rakiya Omaar (UK / Somaliland)
- Prof. Dr. Rudolph Rummel (USA)
- Prof. Christian P. Scherrer (Japan / NL)
- Prof. Dr. Yuki Tanaka (Japan)
- Prof. Dr. Colin Tatz (Australia)
- Prof. Dr. Richard Tanter (Japan / Australia)
- Beate Ziegs (Germany)