- Show more
The crime of genocide and its history
Armed conflicts have always been present in different societies since the beginning of our day. Both disputes in ethnic and power or religious areas have been to the agenda over the centuries. While it is true that there is currently a destructive power that did not exist.
It must be recognized that throughout the twentieth century there has been an increase in the population that has suffered through international armed conflicts that developed emphasis both in the first and World War II. On the contrary, in this century international armed conflicts have been replaced by interstate armed conflicts. Taking into account the latter we can defend the utility provided by the treaties and supranational organizations regarding conflicts. However, while there has been a decrease in this type of international conflicts, it has not been so with those of a national nature and has increased the number of states in which systematic violations of human rights have been carried out.
Genocide, the problem on paper
One of the most serious illicit and that the most minorities have been able to experience is the crime of genocide. This crime arises after World War II as one of the atrocities that the Nazis made and was promoted by the UN Convention on the Genocide of the UN. Since its creation it has been a type of crime that has created a large amount of controversy has international level and is that it only refers to the killing, sterilizations … of national, ethnic, religious or racial groups. Excluding political opponents. In addition to this intrinsic element, there must be a specific intention to destroy one of these types of groups. Another point of controversy over this crime is that it must be prosecuted internally, although there is the possibility of another State to do so.
To be able to understand this crime in a clearest way we will apply it to two real cases. The case of the death fields of Khmer Rouge and that of Saddam Hussein against the Kurds of Iraq.
The first of these cases happened between 1976 and 1979 in Cambodia half of the population was killed. The perpetrator of this massacre was Pol Pot, dictator and leader of the Communist Party. Pol Pot studied in France and development a mentality that was strongly linked to Mao. I came to power in 1975 and imposed a somewhat crazy social system. Their plans for Cambodia went through the State to be a world power in rice production and for this I order that all those who lived and had no jobs that had a social impact (police, doctors, nurses, firefighters …) in thecities will move to the field to grow rice fields. The problem is that as in most states each land has different levels of pH, it requires different types of plants … so that only those families that had dedicated themselves to agriculture of these certain lands achieved crops. After the failure of the first harvest decided that all citizens should be regardless of their social position or jobs that were incorporated. The second of the crops was even worse than the first and this resulted in massive hunger, diseases and poverty. From here the killings began. The first were about people who were hungry, being mostly those people who had moved from the city to the countryside. The second of the killings center on the people who had moved from the city to the country to understand that they did not collaborate with the cause. Pol Pot ordered any citizen to hold some professional work in the city. In this way, lawyers, doctors, teachers were eliminated … However, rice production was again disappointing. Pol Pot thought again that there was something in the population that made their plan not work and therefore came to the conclusion that their own people were somehow linked with the American CIA and the Government. Stopped about 17.000 people accusing them of being spies, caused them to torture them and then executed them. This being the third slaughter. It is now when we must consider if this case we can frame it within the crime of genocide. It is true that Pol Pot murdered certain minorities that existed as the Vietnamese that lived in Cambodia or certain religious groups, but that did not possess any type of importance for him. Pol Pot only sought to eliminate those who thought they were contrary to their regime regardless of whether they belonged to minorities or their cultural, social or religious features. Therefore, in this case we can conclude that we are not faced with a crime of genocide since there must be a specific intention to destroy one of these types of groups.
The second of the assumptions is that of Saddam Hussein. During the war between Iraq and Iran in 1998 he decided to end up using chemical weapons with a minority of the population that was at the border between the two countries. This minority was the Kurdish. The Kurds are the largest minority that exists in the Middle East and is composed of between 55 and 60 million people. Mainly what different this minority is the use of its own language. Saddam killed this minority in Iraq using chemical weapons. Throughout the Saddam trial on this subject I contribute two points of view. First he defended that he killed this population by believing that Iraq could be supporting the armed conflict and this meant a military strategic disadvantage and secondly that the Kurds were established in areas where there was oil and was needed for the enrichment of the nation. In addition, he added that they were given the possibility that they will leave the area before starting with the use of this type of weapons. With all of the above we can consider whether there is a difference between the previous case and the one we have just presented and if we can meet again before a genocide. The answer to both questions are found in the jurisprudence issued by the Special Court against War Crimes. The court determined that in this case we were facing a crime of genocide when they understood that not only those people who could allegedly be helping Iran in the conflict were assumed, but also murdered children, elders and vulnerable people who lackedof capacity to be able to carry out any type of war or intervening in the oil activities that the government had planned for that territory. He understood that the goal that Saddam was looking for was none other than that of ending the Kurdish minor.
Incitation to genocide or hate?
In the crime of incitement to genocide we are in a totally different dimension of the crime of genocide. This crime is based on the control of the masses so that they perform an illegal action that ends up deriving in a genocide. We must take into account that we are faced with a crime of simple activity and not of the result, that is, so that the crime has been committed only that the perpetrator has intended and carried out all the relevant activities to achieve aResult is sufficient. We can understand from this type of crime that what matters is the intention of the speaker and not the effectiveness of discourse. The main aspect that we must take into account with this crime is that for this existence to be a direct and public incitement by the perpetrator.
Perhaps this crime is less known than the one we have explained previously, but this does not mean that it lacks importance by being closely related to people inherent to people such as freedom of opinion or freedom of information. This crime is worse defined in the international legal system and leaves the door open to many questions that are difficult to answer. For example, what is the difference between hate discourse and genocide incitement? O What happens if the messages that are given to the population are not interpreted by the same way? Faced with these questions, the only answer we can give is through the jurisprudence that exists, for this we will expose again two real cases on which the international courts have already pronounced. The Der Sturmer case and the Rwanda case.
The first of these cases was prosecuted in Nuremberg’s trials. The most important trials in history so far. These judgments were carried out by the winning countries of World War II. They sought to determine the responsibility that Nazi officials, leaders and collaborators had had in the crimes committed by German society. One of the prosecuted was Julius Streicher, editor of a German anti -Semitic magazine. In this magazine he made all kinds of cartoons, stories and drawings in which he presented an unreal perspective of the Jews reaching them even with devils. With the passage of time Julius gained more power within Nazi society and came to publish in private newspapers of national level. Thus, it was like Julius became key in the Nazi propaganda sector. At the end of the trial he was sentenced by protecting the court in which he was responsible through the spreading of the virulent anti -Semitism virulent that existed in the German people.
The second case is Rwanda. We located in 1994, in Rwanda two differentiated ethnic groups lived. The tutsis and the hutus. This second group decided to kill the first and in less than four months they had already killed more than 800.000 tutsis, that is, two thirds of the population of this group. Where is the incitement to genocide in this case? In the role that the different radios of the country had to organize and encourage the murders. In this genocide not only paramilitary forces came into play but also working classes murdered. Radios used different programs to issue revolutionary propagandjoin the cause … The use of the word "cockroach" becomes special relevance since this was the word used by the Hutus to refer to the tutsis. After the news of the large number of murders from this region and a minority of the country, a court was created to prosecute the crimes that were being perpetrated. The Rwanda Court declared the most important trial in which the media underwent.
We still have a last question around and it is about the difference between hate speech and genocide incitement. Jurisprudence plays a special emphasis that in order for an incitement to genocide, a call to perform an action is required. It is therefore the big difference that can exist between hate discourse and genocide incitement.