News / USA

    History Shows US Genocide Decree No Guarantee of Action

    FILE - Skulls and bones of some of those killed in Rwanda's genocide are seen at a memorial shrine in Ntarama, Rwanda, April 4, 2014. A designation of genocide does not require any particular action by the U.S.
    FILE - Skulls and bones of some of those killed in Rwanda's genocide are seen at a memorial shrine in Ntarama, Rwanda, April 4, 2014. A designation of genocide does not require any particular action by the U.S.
    Margaret Besheer

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's designation Thursday that the Islamic State (IS) is responsible for genocide against some minorities in Iraq and Syria represents a highly symbolic and rare move.

    "It is the first time this administration has declared a genocide," Cameron Hudson, director of the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, told VOA.

    "The Bush administration is the last time — in Darfur more than a decade ago — that we declared a genocide. And before that it was the Clinton administration in Rwanda," he said.

    He said such declarations are "historic events" that become legacies of those presidencies.

    Deterrent

    While the designation does not legally require the U.S. to take any particular action, it carries a certain moral force, says Gregory Stanton, a Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at George Mason University.

    FILE - A woman is seen mourning amid tomb stones at the Potocari memorial complex near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where victims of the Srebrenica massacre are buried, July 11, 2015. A genocide designation and bombing after the massacre brought the war to an end, one academic says.
    FILE - A woman is seen mourning amid tomb stones at the Potocari memorial complex near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where victims of the Srebrenica massacre are buried, July 11, 2015. A genocide designation and bombing after the massacre brought the war to an end, one academic says.

    He says that in past instances such as Rwanda, Bosnia, Kosovo and Darfur — where terms such as "crimes against humanity" or "ethnic cleansing" were used — no forceful action was taken to stop the crimes.

    "In the case of Bosnia, it was quite dramatic," Stanton said. "As soon as we called it genocide after the Srebrenica massacre in July of 1995, we began bombing the Serb forces, the Bosnian Serb forces, and it brought the war to an end."

    However, seven years after the International Criminal Court indicted the president of Sudan for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in the Darfur region of that country, atrocities continue.

    Accountability

    Kerry said the U.S. and international community must recognize what IS is doing to its victims, and the perpetrators must be held accountable.

    "Naming these crimes is important, but what is essential is to stop them," Kerry said.

    "I think it is significant because, up until today, we have treated ISIS solely as a terrorist group and have been conducting a war against them with little regard to the crimes that were being committed on the ground," said Hudson of the Holocaust Museum, using an acronym for Islamic State.

    "This opens up a new policy approach for the administration to really try to gather evidence and pursue a potential prosecution for the crimes committed," he added.

    You May Like

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    March 18, 2016 8:56 AM
    Not meant for publishing and it may not be my business anyway but it haunts my conscience not to say.Some criminals could be plotting some harm against the Burundian President.Could it a prelude to genocide?This scheme may be known to the highest authority in Rwanda known and approved by the said authority.The guys could be in Burundi already.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora