Darfur the Genocide Convention Was Created Term Paper

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The Genocide Convention was created in order to prevent current or future occurrences of the kind on the strength of international law. However, cases such as Rwanda in 1994 and more recently Sudan's western Darfur region, proves that either the law itself or the international community's ability to enforce it falls far short when actually needed to prevent such violence. This document will consider the issue of the Darfur genocide. After a chronological description of the events, the issue will be considered in terms of factors that prevented intervention, post-genocide interventions and actions, and whether the local government can be held responsible in terms of the Genocide Convention. The conclusion addresses the question of whether something can be done to change the current tendency to ignore genocide when it occurs. The crux of the problem lies in the fact that the world and politics have changed, while the Convention has not. These issues will be considered in terms of the Darfur genocide; one of the worst recent human rights violations cases in the world.

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The Darfur genocide has a history of significant length that begins with several separate conflicts. The first of these is the conflict between the national government based in Khartoum and two rebel groups in Darfur, known as the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement. At the basis of this conflict was what the rebels saw as political and economic marginalization. After a major rebel attack on a Khartoum military airfield, Khartoum's intention was to eradicate the rebels. Instead citizens were in the way and mass violence followed (Straus: 125).

A second conflict playing a role in the eventual genocide is between the northern, Arab government and southern black animists. Talks were held to resolve the conflict between these fighters. However, as a peace agreement appeared to be on the horizon, Darfur and Khartoum sought to undermine this for their own respective reasons (Scot: 126).

Term Paper on Darfur the Genocide Convention Was Created in Assignment

A third contributing conflict was that between the Arabs and those claiming black African descent in the country. At the root of this conflict is resources. Darfur's population comprises some six million citizens belonging to several dozen tribes. An increasing scarcity of arable land, increasing droughts have begun to strain the historical peaceful land sharing arrangements between the tribes. During the 1980's, the Khartoum/Darfur conflict has brought the added element of government involvement in tribal conflicts. To empower their stronghold in Darfur, the Khartoum government generally supported and provided arms to the Arab tribes, who in turn used this increased power against the Africans. The latter responded by forming self-defense groups, and the government formed Arab militias to eradicate these groups (Scot: 126).

Violence against citizens began during the year 2003. The attempt to focus on rebellious African groups spilled over into an attempt to eradicate all African blacks in Darfur, including citizens. Tactics such as razing and burning villages without any armed defense was justified by the claim of discouraging further rebellion recruitment and punish civilians who have supported the rebellion. Large numbers of deaths are related to the war, with reports citing numbers as high as 350,000 in total (Scot: 128). What makes the massacre even more horrifying is eye-witness accounts such as that by a 15-year-old boy:

It was July 2003. At 6 a.m., the Sudanese government soldiers and Janjaweed came by car, tank, horse, camel, and on foot. There were three or four villages in our area, with a total population of maybe 1,200. Men, women, and children were killed -- some by bombing, some by shooting. Some ran away. (Human Rights Watch: Darfur Drawn)

The world seems to have been well informed regarding all the conflicts, including the violence towards citizens. It is not so much knowledge that played a role in the lack of intervention as it was a sense of indecision regarding terminology. A whole scale debate regarding the term genocide prevented help from arriving in anything approaching good time. After the decision to use the term genocide in 2004, the reaction both from the international community and the U.S. was next to nothing (Straus: 131). Clearly terminology was not the only factor in providing intervention in the situation. Other contributing factors include the weakness of Genocide Convention, while the initial decision to term the event genocide was reconsidered once more. Concomitantly, the ability and willingness of the international community to intervene was as weak as the convention itself. Indeed, it appears as if the World Genocide Convention is simply unable to prevent atrocities of this kind.

The national Sudan government can indeed be found guilty of Genocide Convention violations. It helped to commit large-scale human rights abuses against the African population in Darfur. It supported the mercenary groups that committed these acts. Furthermore the government failed to prosecute any of the crimes committed against humanity in Darfur (Human Rights Watch: Entrenching Impunity).

According to the above, Article III, a, b and c of the Genocide Convention have been violated. IIIa prohibits genocide, b relates to conspiracy to commit genocide and c relates to direct and public incitement to commit genocide. When the actions of the Sudanese government are examined, it is clear that they are guilty of all the above. The government is also guilty of violating Article IV, as no persons involved in the genocide have been punished. Article V has been violated by the government's failure to implement laws for the prevention and punishment of persons committing the acts of genocide described in Article III (Prevent Genocide International).

The culpability requirement relates to the accountability of the parties responsible for violations. As such, there needs to be proof that the prosecuted parties were guilty of crimes under the Genocide Convention. This is another factor for the failure of the international community to react and prosecute the responsible parties.

Not being able to identify exactly the definition and terminology of the events in Darfur, the United Nations are unable to establish appropriate methods for either slowing or punishing acts of genocide in the country. Several attempts have however been made to slow the crisis, The UN Security Council for example condemned Sudan, demanding that they rein in the militias within a month. The deadline passed and no further measures were taken. This measure failed because there was no follow-up in its implementation (Straus: 131).

A second resolution called for Kofi Annan to establish a commission for investigating the charge. Economic sanctions against Sudan's oil industry were threatened without any deadline. This measure also failed because of its weak delivery and also for failure to follow up. Furthermore, an African Union plan to send a task force for monitoring the no longer existing cease fire in the country was supported but almost not implemented.

The failure of all these measures could be attributed to a general weakness not only in terms of semantics or terminology, but also in placing a strong physical force behind threats and resolutions (Straus: 131).

As seen above, while there was worldwide outrage and condemnation, very little has been done in concrete terms to hold perpetrators accountable. Evidently any such measures were as unsuccessful as attempts to curb the violence. It appears then that measures are desperately needed to remedy situations like the one in Sudan, as the ones currently in place fall short of this purpose.

Genocide culpability is different from common law homicide in its scale and connotations. Homicide is committed as a crime against society in general. It may have many different motives, some of which may be racism, sexism, anger, or a history of abuse. It is also not often that a person committing common law murder has a large amount of social or personal power. Indeed, committing murder could also be a way for such a person to feel more empowered… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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