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See studies by I. L. Horowitz (1981), L. Kuper (1982), E. Staub (1989), S. Power (2001), D. J. Goldhagen (2009), and P. Sands (2016).
genocidethe deliberate and systematic destruction of a whole nation, or an ethnic, ‘racial’ or cultural group. Though earlier periods in history have witnessed institutionalized violence against particular groups (for example, religious dissidents, indigenous peoples, ‘witches’), often conducted by or on behalf of the Church and state, there are persuasive arguments for the claim that it is only under the conditions associated with late MODERNITY that genocide becomes a reality (Horowitz, 1980). BAUMAN's study (1989) of the Nazi Holocaust is perhaps the best known example of this thesis. If modernity is understood to involve the emergence of the NATION STATE and the elaboration of a BUREAUCRACY capable of keeping under surveillance and regulating its population, with the enhancement of scientific and technological power and the development of INSTRUMENTAL RATIONALITY as the dominant mode of thought and action, then the capacity of ‘modern times’ to effect the systematic destruction of populations is clear.
The 20th century continued to furnish examples of genocide, including the ‘killing fields’ of Pol Pot's Cambodia, the inter-tribal massacres in Rwanda and the persecution of the East Timoreans by the Indonesian government, adding weight to the claim that genocide has become one of the unacceptable faces of modernity
(from Greek génos, clan or tribe, and Latin caedo, I kill), the extermination of individual groups of the population for racial, national, or religious motives; one of the gravest crimes against humanity. Crimes of genocide are organically linked with fascism and similar reactionary “theories” that preach racial and national hatred and intolerance and the rule of so-called superior races over inferior races.
Crimes of genocide were committed on a mass scale by the Hitlerites during World War II (1939-45) in occupied European countries, especially against the Slavic and Jewish population. Millions of people of different nationalities were exterminated in fascist death camps. The ruling circles of several imperialist states flagrantly violate the Conventions of 1948 and 1965, by pursuing a policy of genocide within the country as well as the territories under their rule and using this policy in the struggle against the national liberation movement. A policy of genocide and apartheid has become the state policy in the Republic of South Africa and in Rhodesia.
The punishability of genocide has been established by statutes of international military tribunals (the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals) as well as by the special international Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations on Dec. 9, 1948. In the convention genocide means acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, any national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such—namely, killing members of such a 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, and forcibly transferring children from one group to another. The convention also makes punishable conspiracy with intent to commit genocide, incitement and attempt to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide. The convention provides for the prevention and punishment of crimes of physical and biological genocide. During the drafting of the convention the representative from the USSR insisted on also including a prohibition on national and cultural genocide, which expresses itself in measures and acts directed against use of the national language and against the national culture of any group of the population; however, the imperialist powers refused to accept this proposal or to extend the operation of the convention to the colonies, in which crimes of genocide are perpetrated on a mass scale. In 1965 the United Nations adopted a convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, which condemns racism, one of the forms of which is genocide.
In the Soviet Union and the other socialist states any limitation of the rights of citizens or the establishment of any privileges for citizens based on their racial, national, or religious affiliation, as well as the preaching of racial or national discrimination or hatred and neglect, is prohibited and punished by the law.