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The Continuing Threat of Genocide

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The Continuing Threat of Genocide




Oral history video clip featuring David Scheffer, United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues. This video was originally produced by Media Entertainment, Inc., for the 2000 documentary The Genocide Factor.


Media Entertainment, Inc.


Genocide Factor Collection, Oral History Program, Tampa Library,
University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.


Tampa, Fla. : University of South Florida Tampa Library.




Scheffer, David


Tape number: 4060C


video / mp4




Oral History

Oral History Item Type Metadata


Prior, Cecily


Scheffer, David


United States Department of State, Washington D.C.


Genocide is and is going to continue to be a threat to the United States and other civilized societies because it really tears at the very fabric of morality in the international system. It directly defies what civilization stands for. Genocide is a calculated, evil, intended action to eliminate all or part of a group of people, and that is not civilized; that is the reverse of civilization. And so if you allow that to be perpetrated anywhere in the world, you’re really challenging the morality that you stand for and the very principles that you stand for as a society in a very interdependent international system. And also, you know, just to be a little more sort of pragmatic, genocide spawns all sorts of burdens on the international system. It creates wave after wave of hundreds of thousands of refugees that require hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars of relief over many, many years. It imposes a burden of refugees on neighboring countries. It imposes isolation of a genocidal regime, which disrupts commerce, disrupts the ability for the surviving civilians in a genocidal society to be able to interact with the rest of the world or to receive relief. It’s just a—it’s a cancerous spot on the globe that doesn’t remain contained. It has an impact far beyond the borders of the country or the region in which it occurs. And frankly, to the credit of the international media, it simply cannot be ignored. You can only ignore it and be a hypocrite at the same time. You have to address it; you have to respond to it. And it may be convenient to try to isolate yourself somewhere within your own country, doing what you do every day, to try to ignore that this is going on. But ultimately, it will have an impact. It will have an impact on your taxes, on what we have to provide as a government to provide relief to refugees, or to sustain a very costly military operation to throw back a genocidal regime. All of that ultimately is reflected in the most concrete interaction citizens have with their government, which is their taxes, to be quite blunt about it. So, you know, you can bring this down to the individual sitting around somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, if you want to. It will directly affect that individual.

Original Format

Beta tape




Media Entertainment, Inc., “The Continuing Threat of Genocide,” USF Library Special & Digital Collections Exhibits, accessed February 16, 2020,