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Lecture 8

ECH3310 Lecture 8: ECH3310 Lecture 8.docx

Conflict Studies and Human Rights
Course Code
ECH 3310
Jean- Francois Ratelle

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ECH3310 Lecture 8 - Feb 10, 2015
For the exam Bosnia & Rwanda will be the main cases
- O'leery reading chapter 12 might be useful to better understand the concept
of ethnic cleansing
Chapter 10-11 - covered this week
Three Concepts in Ethnic Conflicts
- concept is extremely political, with normative value outside of academic
Operational distinction between ethnic cleansing and genocide
- both can be the same physical action and political, the general strategy
behind it is what matters
- labelling something as a genocide has a political/economic value: Armenia
has been looking for economic reparations since the first world war (we use
genocide as a catch-only concept)
- there is an extremely high cost as a scholar to use the word, there are only a
few agreed upon cases, even for certain scholars there is the holocaust and
then there are other genocides - 2 distinct cases
- Crime under international laws
crimes against humanity
Genocide Convention - limits of the genocide convention itself
ICC - verdict is that it may have been brutal with ethnic cleansing occurring
but it was not a genocide
2 legal and analytical aspects
Ethnic Cleansing
- War crimes and crimes against humanity
& genocide seen as a consequence of ethnic violence

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Population transfers (partition)
- Not a crime
- Strategy for conflict resolution
- This is not by definition violent
Last reading - methodologically problematic
- contentious issues concerning the fieldwork (not material for the exam)
The Genocide Convention
In the present convention, genocide means any of the following acts
committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical,
racial or religious group, such as:
(a) killing members of the group;
(b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) deliberately inflicting on the group of 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
- As a scholar you cannot simply ignore the genocide convention
Since it was established in 1948 we like to believe it was a byproduct of the
- Leinken
the definition is extremely political it excluded what happened ....
the eradication of people based on their political affiliation is not unterstood
as a genocide; you can be eradicated if you are part of an ethnic/religious
group however you cannot be if you are part of a political/social group - it is
about giving sense to certain folkloric elements
Cambodia can be a clear cut act of genocide -
Until Yugoslavia - there is no operational definition of what in whole or in
part means
second aspect is about the intent
- in legal cases you need to demonstrate intent of a genocide, not the
massacres or the fact people are being killed, but intent to destroy in whole

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or in part must be there
Bosnia - we need to see a general policy of eradication
- causing serious bodily/mental harm to any of the groups; concept of
genocidal rape appears here
- the spirit of the convention includes rape, but legally it must be defined in
the ICTR and ICTY
- intent through the rape is to destroy in whole or in part - there can be
murders in the genocide that are not part of the genocide, it is about the
policy itself - if its not it may just be a very brutal way to fight off "counter-
Grosni - they were warned they would bomb the city and anyone who stayed
was a "terrorist" and then 3 days later they bombed the place for almost a
- it is important that the physical destruction of a group needs to be
interpreted; is it about the physical existence of a group in a region or the
group on a territory, if you eradicate all the men in a region is it about
eradicating their ability to reproduce in a given territory - this is an act of
genocide not a genocide on its own
- in part of a part; the group Sebrenisa is not FULLY destroyed; Muslims in
Bosnia is not fully destroyed however the reproduction abilities of the group
is directly targeted not the WHOLE group itself
Genocide and its normative value as a word
Seen as the absolute evil by political actors (and social)
- Normative and political value of the concept
- "crime of crimes"
- we have to move away from this normative stance, its difficult to research
it in terms of normatively, not calling atrocities an act of genocide doesn't
diminish the acts themselves - all these concepts are socially constructed and
operationalized as we need them as scholars
Ex. Georgia 2008
- both sides had claimed genocide before the conflict started
Simply a form of political massacre
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