Genocide in the 1990s

The notion of human security is always presenting new challenges to the international community. In the world that we live in, crimes against humanity are being committed almost daily in conflict zones and war torn countries. Although there are many, there is one act that is vast more brutal and barbaric than others. The word Genocide was created by a Polish writer called Raphael Lemkin. He combined the word genos (Greek for race) and the word side (Latin for killing). 


Read about the Rwandan Genocide

Genocide is a phenomenon that is still mysterious. Although its very similar to ethnic cleansing, genocide is distinguishable by the motivations behind it. It affects not only the individual or the state, but humanity as a whole. Genocide is a act aimed at the total destruction of a group. It’s not about the extent of destruction or the brutality, but solely from the intention: to completely wipe out a specific group.

“What has happened here is not war in its traditional sense. This is clearly a crime against humanity. War crimes are crimes which happen in war time. There is a confusion there. This is a crime against humanity because it is deliberate and intentional killing of large numbers of civilians for political or other purposes. This is not tolerable under the international systems and it should be persecuted pursuant to the existing laws” – Benjamin B. Ferencz.

During the 20th century, seven crimes of genocide were committed. This has led to a new era of brutality and inhuman behavior.

List of genocides in the 2oth century:

  1. 1938-1945: The Holocaust (killed 6 Million people)
  2. 1932 – 1933: Stalin’s forced famine (killed 7 Million people)
  3. 1915 – 1918: Armenian Genocide (killed 1.6 Million people)
  4. 1975 – 1979: Genocide in Cambodia (Killed 2 Million people)
  5. 1937 – 1938: “The Rape of Nanking” (Killed 300,000 people)
  6. 1992 – 1995: The Bosnian Genocide (Killed between 100,000 and 200,000 people)
  7. 1994: The Rwandan Genocide (Killed between 800,000 and 1 Million people)

    A woman stands between gravestones at the Memorial Center in Potocari near Srebrenica

    Read about the Bosnian Genocide


In order for genocide to occur, a criteria must be followed. They are the eight stages of genocide and each one must be fulfilled in order to create the perfect breeding ground.



History is always repeating itself and the rise of transnational actors is making room for new crimes against humanity, more brutal and fierce than before.

List of sources:



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