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Canadian Involvement in Global Issues: Genocide
Transcript of Canadian Involvement in Global Issues: Genocide
Genocide The UN’s Definition of Genocide
The UN defines genocide as acts that intend to destroy a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group. These include:
• Killing members of the group
• 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 (that is, systematic starvation)
• Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
• Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group Genocides in the 20th Century
•Darfur, Sudan 2003-2005: from 50,000 to 80,000 died
•Sierra Leone 1992-1999: over 10,000 deaths
•Rwanda 1994: more than 800,000 deaths
•Cambodia 1975-1979: 1.5 million to 2.3 million deaths
•*East Timor 1975-1999: 100,000 to 250,000 deaths
•*Burundi 1993-1997: 150,000 to 200,000 deaths
•*Indonesia 1965-1966: 500,000 to 1 million
•The Nazi Holocaust 1938-1945: 9 to 11 million deaths
•Nanking 1937-1938: 130,000 to 300,000 deaths
•USSR-forced famine in Ukraine 1932-1933: 3 to 10 million deaths
•Armenians in Turkey 1915-1919: 800,000 to 1.5 million deaths The Convention on Genocide, 1948
The mass murder of selected groups of people is known as genocide. It is an evil part of human history. Unfortunately, genocide is not just an unpleasant chapter of the world’s history. Although it seems unbelievable, it still occurs in today’s global village.
Following World War II, the German Nazi leaders were put on trial. The Nuremberg Trials (1945-1947) gave the world community its first change to learn about the Holocaust and the crime of genocide. The Nazis had tried to kill off Jews and other “undesirables.” The UN’s Convention on Genocide (1948) finally defined genocide as a “crime against humanity” that must be prevented and punished. UN International Tribunals
In 1994, during a civil war in the central of African country of Rwanda, nearly a million Tutsis were murdered by the rival Hutus. That year, the UN Security Council set up a court, known as a tribunal, to look into accusations of genocide in Rwanda. Several people were tried for war crimes. In 1998, the Rwandan Tribunal became the first international court to hand down a verdict of genocide–the first-ever sentence for that crime. Failure to Stop Genocide
The sad fact remains that the Convention on Genocide has not worked. Since the UN passed the Convention in 1948, hundreds of thousands of people have been brutally murdered. The international community has often failed to intervene in wars, or waited until it was too late to do anything useful. The people who committed the crimes are not held accountable. The barriers to ending genocide include nations not wanting to get involved with another nation’s problems and their situations. Romeo Dallaire
Canadian Romeo Dallaire was named the Force Commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda in 1994. Nearly a million Rwandan Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in just 100 days–many by being hacked to death with machetes. This genocide was planned by the Rwandan government of extremist Hutus. General Dallaire had told the United Nations about the planned genocide. He also told them that he intended to seize the weapons that had been set aside for the killing.
In spite of all this, the United Nations forbade him from taking action. Dallaire repeated his appeal to the United Nations but with no success. Once the genocide began, Dallaire developed a plan to stop the killing, but the United Nations ordered him and his forces to prepare to leave the country. Dallaire refused. He helped to establish sanctuaries and saved the lives of tens of thousands of refugees. The Netherlands The International Criminal Court
It is one thing to have rules of war, but how do you enforce them? If war criminals can just ignore the law, what is the point in having rules? Punishing human rights’ violators finally became possible in 1998. That year, 120 nations voted to establish an International Criminal Court (ICC). By doing this, the international community made it clear that human rights’ violators and war criminals would no longer go unpunished. Some countries, including the United States, voted against having the court. They did not want their military personnel to be subject to the laws of an international court system.
The ICC is located in The Hague, the Netherlands. It has 19 internationally respected judges elected for a nine-year term as well as prosecutors and investigators. It hears cases of the most serious crimes of international concern: genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.
In 2005, the ICC war investigating three situations:
The Sudan the Sudan, where about 180,000 people have died in Darfur through violence, starvation and disease, since a rebel uprising began in 2003. Uganda: the Republic of Uganda, where a civic conflict that began in 1986 has seen the use of child soldiers, the rape of civilians and the looting of villages. Congo:
the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where nearly 4 million people have died since 1998 from a civil conflict that involves many neighbouring countries.