Tuesday, March 11, 2008

On the Meaning of Genocide

The word genocide has fallen victim to a sort of verbal inflation, in much the same way as happened with the word fascist.

Rwanda and Genocide in the 20th Century

Destexhe, former secretary general of Doctors Without Borders

Using evidence from files on a laptop recovered from the FARC camp, Uribe accused Chavez of sponsoring and financing the Colombian rebels."Colombia proposes to denounce the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, in the International Criminal Court for sponsoring and financing genocide," Uribe said. In return, Chavez announced that he would level a war crime charge against Uribe.
What Is Genocide?In 1943, Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a legal scholar, coined the term "genocide," firstly from the Greek root genos (family, tribe or race - gene) and secondly from the Latin root -cide (meaning to kill). Lemkin wrote:

Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1948 and came into effect on Jan. 12, 1951. Read full story

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