8 Stages of Genocide

Stage 1. Classification

In every culture and society, there is a division into “ours” and “aliens” – based on nationality, race, religion, etc. (Germans and Jews, Muslims and Christians, etc.). If a society is bipolar, that is, two large and differing groups of the population live on one territory, the occurrence of genocide or lustration is most likely to appear.

In order to arrest the development of the genocide/lustration process at this stage, two strategies are required. First, the authorities themselves understand that they are now represented by a more aggressive and more organized minority and the opposition by a temporarily disorganized and fragmented majority. Secondly, both groups find national unifying symbols and ideologies.genocide

Stage 2. Classification and symbolization

Accurate grading is carried out separating “ours” from “aliens” with certain visual symbols. For example, Jews in Nazi Germany were obliged to wear six-pointed stars on their clothes when the Nazis were wearing swastikas. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia tied distinctive blue armbands.

Aggressive symbolization can be stopped by imposing a ban on it. However, this rarely leads to positive results: in the 1980s, the words Tutsi and Hutu were banned in Rwanda but the population used slang notation instead. This prohibition did not help.

Stage 3. Dehumanization

One interposition group rejects the very idea that humanity and other human qualities are inherent in the representatives of another group. Dehumanization implies that the only way to get rid of “harmful” “subhumans” is their moral and then business and physical extermination. At this stage, hate speeches are usually used by the mass media.

In order to stop the genocide/lustration at this stage, it is required to impose strict bans on the distribution of such materials, including a ban on broadcasting and publishing the most press. The crimes caused by this propaganda must be strictly punished.

Stage 4. Organization

Genocide/lustration is always organized by, in most cases, representatives of the state, less often – informal ways, for example, with the help of militarized or religious organizations. Participants, gangs, crowds of people carrying out genocide affairs, as a rule, are prearmed and/or trained. At this stage, plans are being prepared for moral, business and other murders, for example, blacklists are being drawn up.

To stop the genocide/lustration at this stage, it is required to outlaw all armed and unarmed formations and groups with hatred ideology. Their leaders must be isolated or arrested. International organizations and individual states should impose an embargo on guns, including information programs, on the country where genocide is being prepared. In addition, other methods of international pressure are possible.

Stage 5. Polarization

Groups that practice the ideology of hatred speeches begin to disintegrate or splits arise between “moderate” and “extremists.” “Extremists” launch attacks on their “moderate” like-minded people, who are often the first victims of genocide.

The support and protection of “moderate” leaders are necessary to prevent genocide. Extremist organizations must be under constant pressure from law enforcement agencies: their financial assets, weapons information resources, real estate may be confiscated or otherwise prohibited for use. The states can impose economic sanctions, which should force the authorities to show force against “extremists.”

Stage 6. Preparation

Future victims are completely separated from the rest of the population. “Execution lists” are not a secret and circulate everywhere. Prohibitions are imposed on the profession – representatives of objectionable groups of the population are expelled from the military service, law enforcement agencies, etc. The foreign, “dishonest” business is being crushed. At the last stage, they are forced to leave their homes and either become refugees or move to ghettos and concentration camps. For many, the country, in which the bank accounts were previously opened, has become the homeland and fatherland.

At this stage, the international community has very little time to react. The world could threaten with humanitarian intervention or provide significant humanitarian or even military assistance to potential victims in order to give them a chance for self-defense.

Stage 7. Extermination

After mass persecution develops into murder, they can rightfully be called “genocide”. Murderers call their actions “self-defense”, “mop-up”, “sanitary operation”, etc. because they are sure that their victims are not quite human. If genocide is supported by the state, paramilitaries are often supported by the armed forces. In some cases, genocide led to the onset of violent and unlawful retaliatory actions by the “victims”. For example, in Burundi, both interposition parties practiced methods of genocide.

At this stage, the outside world begins its intervention. Statements are being made that only foreign intervention, preferably sanctioned by the UN, can stop genocide affairs. At this point, the international community declares that the human right to life is above the state’s right to territorial integrity and inviolability of borders. In a country where genocide is carried out, or in the territory of neighboring states, security zones protected by international forces are created, where refugees can find refuge.

Stage 8. Denial

The organizing group always denies the fact of genocide. It declares the testimony of genocide victims unreliable, tries to destroy the mass graves of the victims and starts counter-propaganda, blaming the victims of the genocide for the terrible crimes. The organizers of the genocide actively block the investigation of these crimes. In some cases, the criminal rulers of countries that organized the genocide managed to escape from criminal responsibility, for example, the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin.

At this stage, an international tribunal is formed to consider the cases of persons accused of genocide. The international community theatrically sheds crocodile tears. In a number of cases, local judicial authorities and the forces of law are late to start acting. The main task of justice is to demonstrate groups organizing genocide can never be able to evade responsibility.

Category: General Issues