Mass crimes against humanity and genocides
Preventing future genocides
Madeleine K. Albright and William S. Cohen, co-chairs of the Genocide
Prevention Task Force: "The world agrees that genocide is unacceptable and
yet genocide and mass killings continue. We have a duty to find the answer
before the vow of 'never again' is once again betrayed." 1
The slogan "never again," cited above, was popularized after the full extent
of the Nazi genocide during World War II became known to the world. On the order
of 12 million humans had been systematically exterminated by the Nazis because
of their religion, nationality, sexual orientation, political ideation, or
pacifism. Of these, about half were murdered simply because they were Jews.
About one third of Europe's Jews -- children, women and men -- did not survive
what they call the Shoa. About 500,000 Roma (a.k.a. Gypsies) and Sinti persons
died in what they called "The Great Devouring." Large numbers of Poles and other
Slavs, Jehovah's Witnesses, gays and lesbians were also included.
But the "never again" became "many times more" as:
East Timor: About 24% of the Christian population was murdered by
the Muslim Indonesian army. The slaughter starting with the invasion of East
Timor in 1975 and lasted until 1999.
Bosnia Herzegovina: Many tens of thousands of persons -- mainly
Muslims -- were murdered -- mostly by Serbian Orthodox Christians -- in
during the 1990s.
Rwanda: About 800,000 Tutus and moderate Hutus were massacred by
Hutus during 1994 while the world stood by and took essentially no action.
Research into the causes and prevention of genocide:
The Genocide Prevention Task Force report titled "Preventing
Genocide," referred to below, commented:
"There is no consensus as to the causes of genocide and mass atrocities,
nor is there one commonly agreed-upon theory that sufficiently explains the
key catalysts, motivations, or mechanisms that lead to them. History has shown
that genocide and mass atrocities can manifest themselves in highly variable
ways, and we should not assume that future perpetrators will follow old
Research by the Political Instability Task Force (PITF) -- a group of
academic experts studying political instability and state failure -- and others,
found that the:
"... strongest and most reliable genocide risk factor is the existence of
an armed conflict or a change in regime character. Virtually all instances of
genocide or mass atrocities since World War II occurred coincident with or
closely following a major internal conflict or the taking of power by more
radical or more harshly authoritarian leaders. Examples include Cambodia,
Guatemala, Algeria, the former Yugoslavia, and Sudan. Other conditions
associated with elevated risk of genocide and mass atrocities include history
of genocide, autocracy, state-led discrimination, and high infant mortality.
... It is worth underscoring that there is little support for the conventional
wisdom suggesting that religious or ethnic diversity in itself poses risks for
genocide or mass atrocities." 3
Preventing genocide and mass crimes against humanity:
A task force to find ways of preventing genocide was convened in 2007-NOV by
three U.S. groups: 1
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, "... a
living memorial to the Holocaust, inspires citizens and leaders to confront
hatred, promote human dignity and prevent genocide." See
The American Academy of Diplomacy "...
promotes an understanding of the importance of diplomacy to serving our nation
and enhancing America?s standing in the world." See:
The United States Institute of Peace, whose goals
"... are to prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote
post-conflict stability and development, and increase peacebuilding capacity,
tools, and intellectual capital worldwide."
The Task Force released its public report on 2008-DEC-08.
Key themes of the Genocide Prevention Task Force report:
A brochure by the Task Force states:
Genocide and mass atrocities threaten core American values
and national interests. From the president on down, preventing genocide must
be a national priority.
Preventing genocide is achievable. Working
with international partners, the U.S. can take practical steps to prevent mass
atrocities at every stage. The choice is not between doing nothing and
large-scale military intervention.
||The [US] administration should develop and implement a
government-wide policy to prevent genocide and mass atrocities, including the
creation of standing institutional mechanisms to ensure that the U.S.
government takes timely and effective action.
Key recommendations of the Genocide Prevention Task Force report:
Their emphasis is on prevention of genocide and mass atrocities, by early
threat detection and prevention of escalation:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Madeleine K. Albright & William S. Cohen, brochure, "Preventing
Genocide: A blueprint for U.S. policymakers," United States Holocaust Memorial
"Preventing Genocide," report, page 23 of 174, United States Holocaust
Memorial Museum, at:
http://www.ushmm.org/ This is a PDF file.
- Ibid, Page 49
Originally written: 2009-NOV-01
Latest update: 2009-NOV-01
Author: B.A. Robinson