Why Have We Failed to Prevent Genocide?

 

 

 

Outline of Dr. Stanton's address to the 8th Symposium on Women and Genocide
Washington, DC, October 26, 2019

 

When Genocide Watch and the Alliance Against Genocide were founded in 1999, there were no international organizations or international coalitions dedicated solely to the prevention of genocide.

 

Genocide Watch and the Alliance have four goals: 
1.    Genocide education for policy makers, students, and the public;
2.    Early warning communicated to engaged policy makers;
3.    Rapid response by diplomacy, the UN or regional forces; and
4.    Creation of courts and effective punishment of genocide.

 

In the twenty years since 1999, we have made a little progress:

•    Genocide education has become part of school curricula in more states and countries and genocide studies have grown in universities;

•    Genocide Studies has become an established academic discipline and the International Association of Genocide Scholars promotes it.
•    More policy makers know the risk factors and processes of genocide;
•    More journalists inform the public of early warning signs of genocide and there is much more news coverage of genocidal massacres;
•    There have been several successful genocide preventions: Kosovo, East Timor, Macedonia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Burundi;
•    We have created several international tribunals and the International Criminal Court. (ICTR, ICTY, Sierra Leone, East Timor, and Khmer Rouge tribunals; the ICC.)
•    Genocidists, and perpetrators of crimes against humanity and war crimes have been convicted. 
•    The Genocide Convention has finally become international law, because it has finally been enforced.  The law of genocide has been interpreted in international case law.
•    Mass rape is recognized as a crime of genocide. (ICTR – Akayesu). Genocide includes more than killing.  It also includes other kinds of group destruction – “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group,” and “imposing measures to prevent births within the group.”

 

But there have been more failures:
Darfur, South Sudan; D.R. Congo; Ethiopia; Central African Republic; Somalia; Syria; Iraq; Nigeria; Cameroon; Myanmar; Yemen; North Korea; China.

 

What are the common factors for success?
    A united UN Security Council and regional organization (NATO in Kosovo and Macedonia; ASEAN in East Timor);
•    Peacekeeping by a national or regional force (France in Côte d’Ivoire; Nigeria and ECOWAS in Sierra Leone and Liberia);
•    Popular opposition to ethnic violence (Macedonia, Kenya);
•    Political compromise between ethnic leaders (Macedonia, Kenya).

 

“Success” is often partial or temporary (the UN, African Union, and European Union peacekeeping in Central African Republic, D.R. Congo, Sudan.)

 

What are the common factors for failure?
•    A divided and paralyzed UN Security Council;
•    Protection of perpetrators by UN Perm-5 powers (Myanmar, China, North Korea, Syria, Yemen);
•    Regional organizations too militarily weak or politically divided to act forcefully (Libya, Yemen, Syria, North Korea);
•    No peace to keep – the ongoing civil war quagmires (Darfur, South Sudan, D.R. Congo, Syria, Myanmar);
•    Indifference by great powers or regional nations [no “national interest”: Syria, Burundi, Chad, Cameroon, Yemen, ASEAN non-interference in Myanmar]
•    Resistance by “sovereign” nations against “peacekeepers” (Darfur, Sudan, South Sudan, Myanmar, Nigeria, India, Pakistan).
•    Denial of genocide until prevention is too late. (Rwanda, Sudan, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen.)

 

What must we do to prevent more failures?
•    Resist nationalism and racism.  They defeat any interest in human rights in other nations.
•    Reform the United Nations genocide prevention office – by UN Security Council or General Assembly Resolution correct its false view that only courts may determine “genocide.” [An individual standard is “beyond reasonable doubt.” Genocide prevention must use a prosecutorial standard of “sufficient evidence.”]  Let the Special Advisor brief the Security Council directly.
•    Reassert the authority of the General Assembly (Uniting for Peace Resolution authorizes force when Security Council is paralyzed)
•    Use the General Assembly and regional organizations to create mixed tribunals [KR Tribunal];
•    Amend the ICC Statute to make genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity crimes of Universal Jurisdiction – this can be done by ICC Assembly of States parties without Perm-5 veto;
•    Amend the ICC Statute to establish an ICC police force to arrest perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.  Make agreements with national police forces for arrests.

 

What must anti-genocide activists do to prevent more failures?
•    Campaign internationally for genocide education to be included in the curriculum of every secondary school in the world.
•    Create a cooperative, voluntary Alliance of NGO’s to pressure governments to take needed actions to prevent and stop genocide.
•    Make leadership of this Alliance cooperative and international, rather than centralized and hierarchical.  Make sure leaders of the anti-genocide movement include a majority of women. 
•    Raise substantial funding for this Alliance to do its work.  [George Soros empowered Human Rights Watch by giving it one hundred million dollars. Alexa and Jeff Bezos are you listening?]
•    Recruit and mobilize a volunteer anti-genocide movement like the membership movement organized by Amnesty International.  The best models for the anti-genocide movement are the Anti-Slavery Movement and the Women’s Equality Movement.
•    Mobilize the church and other religious institutions.  They were the key to the Civil Rights Movement.
•    Make recruitment of government policy makers into this anti-genocide movement a priority. [Infiltrate foreign policy making.]
•    Take decision making out of the stove pipes. Open the process. Provide forums where government, international organization, human rights, humanitarian, church, academic, think tank, business, legal, and philanthropic leaders can meet often about situations at risk of genocide. (Burundi Policy Forum.)
•    Train university students in genocide prevention and encourage them to enter foreign policy making in governments, regional organizations and the UN.  
•    Educate political leaders about the importance of genocide prevention for the national interest.  Re-educate leaders that protection of life is the only “vital” national interest, not oil or power.
•    Raise genocide prevention as an issue in political campaigns whenever politicians appeal to narrow nationalism or isolationism.

 

What must we do personally to prevent more failures?
•    Work for a cooperative anti-genocide movement, rather than one dominated by rivalry over funding sources and insider influence.
•    Personalize every appeal.  Tell people that preventing genocide is about protecting particular people. Name them and introduce listeners and readers to their personal stories.  We are in this struggle for love.
•    Avoid humanitarian narcissism.  We are in this struggle not for ourselves, our own fame, or our own fortunes.  We are in it for the future of the human race.


We will win.
•    We are working for the Force that created the universe and made every person.  We are channels for that Force.
•    Love is more powerful than Evil.  Love is God’s Force personally expressed.
•    Justice is stronger than Genocide.  Justice is God’s Force socially expressed.
•    Never lose faith that we will win this struggle.
•    Faith gives substance to things hoped for.
•    Hope is the assurance that Life will triumph over Death.
•    WE WILL WIN.  Because it is God’s Work. 

 

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