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Thursday, 17 November 2011

THE 8 STAGES OF GENOCIDE.


By Gregory H. Stanton, President, Genocide WatchClassification Symbolization Dehumanization Organization
 Polarization Preparation Extermination Denial
Genocide is a process that develops in eight stages that are predictable but
 not inexorable. At each stage, preventive measures can stop it. The process
 is not linear.  Logically, later stages must be preceded by earlier stages. 
 But all stages continue to operate throughout the process.
1. CLASSIFICATION: All cultures have categories to distinguish people into
 “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality: German and Jew,
 Hutu and Tutsi. Bipolar societies that lack mixed categories, such as 
Rwanda and Burundi, are the most likely to have genocide. The main preventive
 measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that 
transcend ethnic or racial divisions, that actively promote tolerance and
 understanding, and that promote classifications that transcend the divisions.
 The Catholic church could have played this role in Rwanda, had it not been riven by the same ethnic cleavages as Rwandan society. Promotion of a common language in countries like Tanzania has also promoted transcendent national identity. This search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide.
2. SYMBOLIZATION: We give names or other symbols to the classifications.
 We name people “Jews” or “Gypsies”, or distinguish them by colors or dress;
 and apply the symbols to members of groups. Classification and symbolization
 are universally human and do not necessarily result in genocide unless they
 lead to the next stage, dehumanization. When combined with hatred, symbols
 may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups: the yellow star for 
Jews under Nazi rule, the blue scarf for people from the Eastern Zone in
 Khmer Rouge Cambodia. To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be
 legally forbidden (swastikas) as can hate speech. Group marking like gang 
clothing or tribal scarring can be outlawed, as well. The problem is that legal
 limitations will fail if unsupported by popular cultural enforcement. Though 
Hutu and Tutsi were forbidden words in Burundi until the 1980’s, code-words 
replaced them. If widely supported, however, denial of symbolization can be
 powerful, as it was in Bulgaria, where the government refused to supply
 enough yellow badges and at least eighty percent of Jews did not wear them,
 depriving the yellow star of its significance as a Nazi symbol for Jews.
3. DEHUMANIZATION: One group denies the humanity of the other group.
 Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases.
 Dehumanization overcomes the normal human revulsion against murder.
 At this stage, hate propaganda in print and on hate radios is used to vilify
 the victim group. In combating this dehumanization, incitement to genocide
 should not be confused with protected speech. Genocidal societies lack
 constitutional protection for countervailing speech, and should be treated
 differently than democracies. Local and international leaders should 
condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. 
Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and
 have their foreign finances frozen. Hate radio stations should be shut down, 
and hate propaganda banned. Hate crimes and atrocities should be promptly
 punished.

4. ORGANIZATION: Genocide is always organized, usually by the state, 
often using militias to provide deniability of state responsibility
 (the Janjaweed in Darfur.) Sometimes organization is informal
 (Hindu mobs led by local RSS militants) or decentralized (terrorist groups.) 
Special army units or militias are often trained and armed. Plans are made
 for genocidal killings. To combat this stage, membership in these militias 
should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. 
The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of
 countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to
 investigate violations, as was done in post-genocide Rwanda.
5. POLARIZATION: Extremists drive the groups apart. Hate groups 
broadcast polarizing propaganda. Laws may forbid intermarriage or social
 interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates, intimidating and
 silencing the center. Moderates from the perpetrators’ own group are 
most able to stop genocide, so are the first to be arrested and killed.
 Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or
 assistance to human rights groups. Assets of extremists may be 
seized, and visas for international travel denied to them. Coups d’√©tat 
by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions.
6. PREPARATION: Victims are identified and separated out because 
of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. Members of
 victim groups are forced to wear identifying symbols. Their property is 
expropriated. They are often segregated into ghettoes, deported into
 concentration camps, or confined to a famine-struck region and starved.
 At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. If the political
 will of the great powers, regional alliances, or the U.N. Security Council
 can be mobilized, armed international intervention should be prepared, or
 heavy assistance provided to the victim group to prepare for its self-defense.
 Otherwise, at least humanitarian assistance should be organized by the U.N. 
and private relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees to come.
7. EXTERMINATION begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally
 called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the killers because they do not
 believe their victims to be fully human. When it is sponsored by the state,
 the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Sometimes the
 genocide results in revenge killings by groups against each other, creating
 the downward whirlpool-like cycle of bilateral genocide (as in Burundi).
 At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop
 genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established
 with heavily armed international protection. (An unsafe “safe” area is worse
 than none at all.) The U.N. Standing High Readiness Brigade, EU Rapid
 Response Force, or regional forces -- should be authorized to act by the 
U.N. Security Council if the genocide is small. For larger interventions, a
 multilateral force authorized by the U.N. should intervene. If the U.N. is
 paralyzed, regional alliances must act. It is time to recognize that the
 international responsibility to protect transcends the narrow interests of 
individual nation states. If strong nations will not provide troops to intervene
directly, they should provide the airlift, equipment, and financial means
 necessary for regional states to intervene.
8. DENIAL is the eighth stage that always follows a genocide. It is among
 the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of
 genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence
 and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and
 often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the 
crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee 
into exile. There they remain with impunity, like Pol Pot or Idi Amin, unless
 they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them. The response to 
denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts. There the
 evidence can be heard, and the perpetrators punished. Tribunals like the
 Yugoslav or Rwanda Tribunals, or an international tribunal to try the Khmer
 Rouge in Cambodia, or an International Criminal Court may not deter the worst 
genocidal killers. But with the political will to arrest and prosecute them, some
 may be brought to justice.