The past repeats itself
History of the word “Genocide”
In 1944, a Polish-Jewish lawyer
named Raphael Lemkin coined the
term genocide.
He took the Greek word “geno” (race
or tribe) and combined it with the
Latin word “cide”, which means
On December 9th, 1948, the United
Nations approved the Convention on
the Prevention and Punishment of
the Crime of Genocide.
The UN made it an international
crime to commit genocide, with all of
its member nations agreeing to
“undertake to prevent and punish”
the crime.
Definition of the word “Genocide”
Genocide is defined as any of the following
acts committed with the intent to
destroy, in whole or in part, a national,
ethical, racial or religious group, as
Killing members of the
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
intending to prevent births
in the group
Forcibly transferring
children from the group to
another group
Genocide in Cambodia 1975-1979
In 1975, Pol Pot, a radical communist leader, seized
control of Cambodia and declared that this was “year
zero.” He wanted to establish a society set in the past
where farming the land was what everybody did to benefit
the state.
The use of foreign languages was banned. Newspapers
and television stations were shut down, radios and
bicycles confiscated, and mail and telephone usage
curtailed. Money was forbidden. All businesses were
shuttered, religion banned, education halted, health care
eliminated, and parental authority revoked.
He forced all people to evacuate the cities and work in the
fields. As many as 20,000 people died in these
The people were forced to work in these “killing fields”
where they existed on one tin of rice per person every two
days. Their workday began at 4 am and ended at 10 pm,
with only two small breaks. Many people died of
malnutrition and overworking, as well as being shot by Pol
Pot’s soldiers.
Genocide in Cambodia 1975-1979
Deadly purges were conducted to get rid of people from
the ‘old’ society, such as doctors, lawyers, teachers,
police, the wealthy, monks, and former government
Anyone suspected of disloyalty to Pol Pot was either shot
or chopped to death with an ax.
“What is rotten must be removed,” was the slogan of Pol
Unsupervised gatherings of more than two people were
forbidden; young people were taken from their parents and
forced to marry those they had never met.
212,000 Chinese were murdered, and Muslims were forced
to eat pork or be shot.
In 1979, Vietnam invaded and took Pol Pot out of power,
but not before the death toll in Cambodia reached over
2,000,000 people.
Genocide in Bosnia 1992-1995
In April 1992, Bosnia declared themselves to be an
independent country from Yugoslavia.
The president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic, who was
Serbian, attacked Bosnia, which was made up of mostly
Muslims, who the Serbs viewed as ethnically inferior.
In the capital of Sarajevo, Serbian snipers targeted
innocent civilians, including children (3, 500).
While the UN instructed its troops to do nothing, the Serbs
rounded up Muslims, put the men and boys into makeshift
concentration camps, and raped the women and girls.
President Bill Clinton eventually brokered a peace
agreement in 1995, but the Serbs broke it when they
captured UN troops and forced them to watch as they
selected and slaughtered 8,000 men and boys between the
ages of twelve and sixty and raped mass numbers of
In August of 1995, NATO stepped in and ended the conflict
by bombing the Serbs, but not until the death toll in
Bosnia reached 200,000 Muslims killed, 20,000 missing,
and more than 2,000,000 displaced.
Srebrenica Massacre in Bosnia (
Genocide in Rwanda April-July 1994
The two main ethnic groups in Rwanda are the Hutu and the
Tutsi. The Tutsi ruled until 1962, even though they only
comprised ten percent of the population.
The Hutu and the Tutsi agreed to share power in 1990 after a
conflict. However, the Hutu despised sharing power with the
Tutsis and when the President of the country tried to conduct
peace talks with the Tutsis, they shot his plane down.
This began a systematic killing campaign where they killed all
Tutsi leaders and set the Hutu population on a mission to rape
and kill all Tutsi people, regardless of age, usually with
The UN had troops in Rwanda but forbid them to do anything to
help the Tutsis. Their only function was to get all of the foreign
diplomats out the country.
On April 21st, the UN voted to abandon Rwanda and pulled out all
but 200 troops. Hundreds of thousands of people had already
been killed.
Once the UN pulled out, the killings increased in number and
speed. The radio system in Rwanda was used to broadcast
propaganda and point out where people were hiding.
Genocide in Rwanda April-July 1994
Many Tutsis ran to churches and missions to hide,
thinking that they would be protected there. These
became the sites of some of the worst massacres because
they were trapped.
In many local villages, Hutus were forced to kill their Tutsi
neighbors or risk death for themselves and their families.
They also forced Tutsis to kill their own families.
By mid-May, over 500,000 Tutsis had been murdered. The
UN, under media pressure, agreed to send up to 5,000
troops to Rwanda, but never sent them in time to stop the
The butchering did not stop until July of 1994 when
200,000 Tutsis from neighboring countries invaded and
attacked Hutu forces, stopping the genocide.
The total death toll ended at 800,000 people.
Genocide in Darfur 2003-present
Since 2003, the government of Sudan has sent their soldiers and
their allies, the Janjaweed to fight rebels in the western region of
The government has sent the Janjaweed to attack civilians in this
region who are the same ethnic group as the rebels (they have
darker skin than the main ethnic groups in the Sudan).
Janjaweed means ‘a man with a gun on a horse.’ They are vicious
soldiers allied with the government, who hires horse-owning Arab
men and pays them $116 a month to join the Janjaweed.
The government denies any association with the Janjaweed, even
though government-owned military helicopters survey and attack
villages right before the Janjaweed appear.
The Janjaweed have raped thousands of women in the hopes of
making them pregnant with lighter-skinned babies. They have
killed thousands of men and boys. Those who don’t die in the raids
leave their homes and try to escape to neighboring Chad or stay
trapped in make-shift towns in Darfur.
The Janjaweed’s main mission is to drive these Black African
Muslims from their land, never to return. They dump human and
animal bodies in water to contaminate it and burn villages to the
Genocide in Darfur 2003-present
About 2,500,000 people have been driven from their homes
and are living in refugee camps in Darfur or in neighboring
The death toll now exceeds 300,000, with numbers rising
every day.
Words without deeds violates the moral and
legal obligation we have under the genocide
convention but, more importantly, violates our
sense of right and wrong and the standards we
have as human beings about looking to care for
one another.
-Jon Corzine

Modern-day genocide The past repeats itself History of …