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Genocide and Justice (Jan. 16).docx

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Political Science
Course Code
Joseph Wong

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Genocide and Justice  Genocide – committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in par, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups o Genocide occurs by:  Killing members of the group  Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group  Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction, in whole or in part  Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group  Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group o Acts directed against political groups are excluded from the definition of genocide  Crimes against humanity o Murder; enslavement; deportation; imprisonment; torture; rape; or other inhumane acts committed against any civilian population, before during the war  War crimes o Murder; ill-treatment; deportation for slave labor or for any other purpose of the civilian population of or in occupied territory  Precedents: o The trial of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg for genocide and crimes against humanity after their DEFEAT in WWII  Not a defense to say “I was following orders” o Creation of temporary international tribunals – 1990’s o International court to address genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity – 1998  Truth commission o A temporary body o Created by successor governments  After the governments that allegedly committed crimes against their own population o Set up by an official authority o Mandate: to investigate a pattern of gross human rights violations committed over a period of time in the past o Purpose: to issue a public report  Includes victims’ data and recommendations for justice and reconciliation  Justice – punishment against perpetrators  Reconciliation – forgiveness; moving on; living in harmony  Test Case: Argentina o Under a military government in the 1970’s, 9,000 to 30, 000 persons are estimated to have disappeared in the war against subversion o Referred to as “El Proceso” or “The Dirty War” o The loss to the UK in the Falklands War of 1982 discredited the military and led to changes o The new civilian government:  Brought some military leaders to trial for crimes against the Argentinian population  Appointed a presidential panel to investigate the political disappearances of thousands of Argentinians who were arrested, tortured, and killed by the military o But unrest among the military led to:  The retreat from further prosecutions  Amnesty for most violations by junior mid-level officers o What went wrong?  Lengthy time of prosecution gave the military time to regroup and organize  Prosecution of mid-level officers, rather than only the senior commanders galvanized military opposition  Lesson of Argentina: justice and political stability are best reconciled through a program of prosecutions that has defined limits  Chile o President Aylwin was inaugurated in March 1990, after negotiating transitional arrangements with a united, undefeated military that still enjoyed considerable support o The new government established two goals: reparation and prevention  Did not emphasize punishment as one of the principal objectives o Gave priority to disclosure of the truth  Emphasis was on memorialization and creation of a new shared identity o Truth was given a higher priority than justice o Aylwin appointed the National Commission for Truth and Reconciliation  To describe how a repressive system worked, its roots, its methods, and its consequences
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