Resolving Issues of Genocide
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Nothing has been solved until now on this complex subject. We are still exactly where we were before. In other words, the United Nations Convention has been signed on genocide, has been signed by most countries of the world. But genocide is still being carried out, as we saw just six years ago in Rwanda.
Now, genocide -- the Genocide Convention, for instance, does not include ethnic cleansing. The term was unknown in 1948. Now, is ethnic cleansing part of genocide? That's an open question. Ethnic cleansing is bad, we know that. What happened in Kosovo was obviously an attempt at ethnic cleansing. It was accompanied by mass murder. What is mass murder? We haven't defined mass murder. When does murder become mass murder? When a hundred people are killed, a thousand, ten thousand? We've never defined it.
There have been declarations against this kind of thing. The United Nations have improved their performance, but not by very much. And so, there is hope there; there is a light, as they say in America, at the end of the tunnel. But we don't know whether it's a sun ray or the train coming in the opposite direction. So, we are still -- the judge -- the jury is still out on this question.
Well, we don't have a definition of genocide that tells us how many people have to be killed in order for it to be a genocide. This is a question of political consensus, not of a definition -- not of an academic definition. What I can say, according to one estimate by a colleague who lives in Hawaii, an American sociologist by the name of Rummel, 169 million civilians were killed between 1900 and 1987 by governments and political organizations. One hundred and sixty-nine million civilians. That includes disarmed prisoners of war. It does not include 34 million soldiers who died in all the wars in the twentieth century until '87. So, four times as many civilians were killed as soldiers. That is the extent of the problem we face. And to say that this ended in 1987, we know, is simply not true.