Essay Example on Rings of Tears 2:The Murdering Genocide

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1556 Words
Date:  2023-05-08

Rings of Tears 2: The Murdering

Genocide is also a subject of social science and scholarly study, but its legal definition does not easily allow for empirical and historical research. For this reason the definition of genocide for research purposes has, in essence, been of two types. One is the definition of genocide as the intention to murder people because of their group membership, even if political or economic. A second definition, which may also be called democide, is any intentional government murder of unarmed and helpless people for whatever reason.

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Taking both social definitions into account, governments have murdered probably around 174 million people during the 20th Century. Most of this killing, perhaps around 110 million people, is due to communist governments, especially the USSR under Lenin and Stalin and their successors (62 million murdered), and China under Mao Tse-tung (35 million). Some other totalitarian or authoritarian governments are also largely responsible for this toll, particularly Hitler's Germany (21 million murdered) and Chiang Kai-chek's Nationalist government of China (about 10 million). Other governments that have murdered lesser millions include Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Japan, North Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Turkey, Vietnam, and Tito's Yugoslavia.

Fundamentally, genocide is a product of the type of government a country has. There is a high correlation between the degree of democratic freedom a people enjoy and the likelihood that the government will commit democide. Modern democratic governments have committed virtually no domestic genocide. Those governments that commit the most genocide have been totalitarian governments, while those that committed lesser genocide have been partially or wholly authoritarian and dictatorial.

Regardless of type of government, the likelihood of genocide increases during their involvement in war, or when undergoing internal disruptions, as by revolution, rebellion, or foreign incursions. Such provides the cover and excuse for genocide. Regardless of war or peace, the motive for genocide may be to deal with a perceived threat to the government or its policies, to destroy those one hates or envies, to pursue the ideological transformation of society, to purify society, or to achieve economic or material gain.

Assuming a nondemocratic society, domestic genocide goes through eight stages, which are the classification of peoples into different categories, the symbolization by naming or characterizing them, dehumanization of members of the group, organizing to murder or exterminate members of the group, polarization of the moral distance between groups, preparation for a campaign of extermination, the actual genocide, and after the fact a denial that such was carried out.


Genocide is foremost an international crime for which individuals, no matter how high in authority, may be indicted, tried, and punished by the International Criminal Court (ICC). According to Article 6 of the ICC Statute, This crime involves, "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."

There are a number of things to note about these acts.

(1) The perpetrator is not necessarily a state's government or its military, but may be an international organization, such as a UN peacekeeping one, NATO, or a terrorist or guerrilla organization, among others.

(2) Regardless of under what authority genocide is done, it is formulated, planned, and conducted by individuals, and it is individuals that the ICC will prosecute for the crime of genocide. Unlike the International Court of Justice that only adjudicates disputes between states, the ICC is a criminal tribunal that will indict individuals, issue international warrants for their arrest, try, and punish them. This is made explicit in Article 27: "This Statute shall apply equally to all persons without distinction based on official capacity. In particular, official capacity as head of state or government, a member of a government or parliament, an elected representative or a government official shall in no case exempt a person from criminal responsibility under this statute, nor shall it, in and of itself, constitute a ground for reduction of sentence."

(3) The perpetrator's intent (purpose, goal, aim) is critical. According to the Report of the Preparatory Commission for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), the ICC may infer such from "conduct took place in the context of a manifest pattern of similar conduct directed against that group or was conduct that could itself effect such destruction," (Article 6a) including "the initial acts in an emerging pattern" (Article 6 Introduction).

(4) The limitation of genocide to only national, ethnical, racial or religious groups is to groups that one is born into. These may be called indelible groups. In the case of a religious group, while one may choose to leave a religious group as an adult, it is rarely done and one may nonetheless remain identified with the religious group by virtue of physical characteristics, as for Jews. The crime of genocide does not apply to the intent to destroy political, ideological, economic, military, professional, or other groups. Thus, the mass murder of perhaps a million or more "capitalist roaders," "rightists," and counterrevolutionaries during the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966-69) would not be genocide. Neither would the systematic murder of tens of thousands of communists and leftists by death squads in Latin American during the 1960s to 80s. The rational often given for excluding such groups is that one joins or becomes a member of them as a matter of choice, and the nature and membership in such groups is not as clear as it is for indelible groups.

(5) In the definition of genocide, the term "as such" is important. It means that the defined groups are by intention explicitly targeted for destruction, and such destruction is not the unintended outcome, byproduct, or spillover of the intent to achieve some other goal, such as in defensive operations o attacks on military targets during a war or rebellion.

(6) Also critical is the word "destroy." The acts that are carried out with this intent are carefully defined in (a) to (e), above. They exclude attempts, for example, to eliminate an indelible group from a territory by ethnic cleansing (that which involves their forced or coerced removal), or the destruction of the culture of a group, as by forced education of their children in a different language and customs. While "culture" is unmentioned in the articles of the ICC's Statute and the Report of the PCICC, and may well be included as the case law of genocide develops, "ethnic cleansing" would seem to be a crime against humanity in the Statute. Under Article 7.1.d, it is unlawful to deport of forcibly transfer a population.

(7) The "in whole or in part" means that there is no lower limit to the number of people on which these acts may be committed. It is genocide even any of the Acts (a)-(e) are on one person with the intent described.

(8) Genocide is generally believed to involve the murder of indelible group members. But the crime does not. Acts (b)-(e) make clear genocide may also involve the intent to destroy a group by means other than killing one or more of its members.

(9) In Act (b) "serious bodily or mental harm" may include acts of torture, rape, sexual slavery, apartheid, or other inhuman or degrading treatment. (PCICC, ft. 3) That these inhumane acts, among others, were explicitly included in the ICC Statute is a major advance in genocide criminal law.

(10) In Act (c) "conditions of life" may include "deliberate deprivation of resources indispensable for survival, such as food or medical services, or systematic expulsion from homes." (PCICC ft. 4)

(11) The term "forcibly" in Act (e), "is not restricted to physical force, but may include threat of force or coercion, such as that caused by fear of violence, duress, detention, psychological oppression or abuse of power; or taking advantage of a coercive environment. " (PCICC ft. 5).

(12) Finally, it must be noted that there are many other crimes that do not fall under the definition of the crime of genocide that are also subject to prosecution by the ICC. Under Article 7 such are systematic murder, extermination of civilians, enslavement, torture, rape, forced pregnancy, political persecution, and forced disappearances.


In 1998, 120 countries voted to adopt the treaty establishing the ICC. With its Statute signed by 139 states and ratified by 76, the ICC formally came into existence on July 1, 2002 at The Hague, in the Netherlands. It is a permanent court, independent of the United Nations, and intended to cover the world. In the Preamble to the Statute the State Parties agreed to the Statute, while:

"Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking measures at the national level and by enhancing international cooperation, . . .

Determined to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators of these crimes and thus to contribute to the prevention of such crimes, . . . .

Recalling that it is the duty of every State to exercise its criminal jurisdiction over those responsible for international crimes, . . . .

Determined to these ends and for the sake of present and future generations, to establi...

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