Genocide – Week 5 Four other countries are being monitored by the Holocaust Memorial Museum for genocide is a probable result there.
Chechnya, Russia Overview The Museum issued a Genocide Watch for Chechnya in 2001. This was based on: Past prosecution of Chechens as a people The demonization of Chechens as a group within Russian society The violence directed against Chechen civilians by Russian forces Russian Attacks!
Who is Ramzan Kadyrov? Ramzan Kadyrov is the current Chechen president. He is the son of the assassinated former Chechen Prime Minister Akhmad Kadyrov. Ramzan was inaugurated as president on April 5, 2007. He is the head of the most feared militia in Chechnya “Kadyrovtsy”, which is responsible for most of the human rights abuses in Chechnya. He established a system based on ruthless personal guard, he follows a program that forces parents of rebels to appear on TV and beg their sons to return home. He has a militia that’s only loyal to him and it is accused of serious human rights abuses. He has significant personal power in Chechnya, where nor the parliament neither the judicial system operate independently.
What is Chechenization? Chechenization is the process of placing responsibility for governance and security in Chechen hands. The presidential elections occurred in September 2003, with the Russian Akhmad Kadyrov winning. By May 2004 President Kadyrov was assassinated and the new president Alu Alkahov installed Kadyrov’s son Ramzan as first prime minster. But then in February 2007, Ramzan became president of Chechnya. Since the process of Chechenization started, it didn’t really affect the civilians, there’s limited reconstruction, lack of electricity and water, and widespread human right abuses.
Current Situation July 15, 2009: Natalya Estemirova was abducted near her home in Grozny, Chechnya. Memorial accused Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov of involvement in her death therefore Kadyrov sued Memorial Director Oleg Orlov for libel. April 16, 2009: Russia formally announced an end to its 15 year-long anti-terrorism efforts in Chechnya. No more military restrictions would be in effect and up to 20,000 Russian soldiers would be withdrawn. In July 9, 2006, Shamil Basayev was also killed in Ingushetia by a bomb. The new head of the Chechen separatist armed movement is Doku Umarov. Among the deadliest terrorist attacks on Russian soil was the storming of the Dubravka Theater in Moscow on October 23, 2002, where 736 people were taken hostage and 120 died.
Warning Signs The roots of the crisis The roots of the crisis in Chechnya extend when Russia established a permanent military presence in Chechnya in the 18th century. Discrimination and demonization Chechens have faced discrimination and demonization in Russian society. They are referred to as “blacks” and have been treated by their ethnicity as criminals and terrorists. War (1994-96 and 1999) The first was lasted from 1994 till 1996. It was marked by widespread destruction and violence against civilians. It ended with a Russian withdrawal from Chechnya at the end of 1996. A second war started in October 1999 in response to terrorist attacks in Russia, anarchy in Chechnya, and the development of Chechen armed units. The war began under President Yeltsin but he was shortly replaced by Vladimir Putin. The war was disastrous for the civilians, when areas were held by rebels they were left in ruins and were completely destroyed by the air and artillery bombardment. The Russians captured Grozny, the Chechen capital, in 2000 and by this victory the Russians declared the war won and began a strategy of “pacification”.
Acts of Violence The end of the fighting ≠ security and peace. In Chechnya, especially men from the ages of 15 and 49, faced threats of theft, beatings, arrest, and murder by Russian soldiers during the “zachistki” (searches for rebels). In filtration camps, Chechens were tortured, murdered, and other simply disappeared.
Responses Chechenization Late 2002, the Russian policy changed from “pacification” to normalize the Chechen situation. This period witnessed a census (2002), a referendum on Chechnya’s status (2003), and the elections (2003. The end result was “Chechenization”: a new Chechen-led administration was in place and a huge number of Russian forces left. Human rights workers and journalists under threat Chechens were critic al in getting information about violence against civilians for the journalists had limited capacity to cover the situation with the strict Russian control over their movements. Internal Russian matter? The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) was the most active international player responding to the Chechen crisis. Established I 1995, the OSCE Assistance Group to Chechnya worked to negotiate ceasefire agreements and deliver humanitarian aid. The responses of foreign countries depended on their relations with Russia. Displaced aided, but inside Chechnya very little help Insecurity inside Chechnya including kidnapping foreign workers for ransom, made delivery of humanitarian aid there very dangerous and hard for many years. The huge amount of international aid was distributed mainly to displaced people on neighboring Russian republics. Prosecutions The European Court found Russia responsible for serious human rights violations in Chechnya including torture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial executions.
Legacy After ten years of destruction Many Chechens left as a result of the conflict and there are now many communities for them in Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway. As for those who remained, rebuilding their homes and lives is very complicated and difficult because of the huge losses, poverty, and toxic environment (landmines and birth defects that were resulted of the usage of chemical weapons). Slow reconstruction is developing in Chechnya mainly working on social and economic infrastructure. Tensions throughout the North Caucasus The Chechen conflict affected the stability and security the North Caucasus region of Russia.
Bosnia Herzegovina Overview In 1991, Yugoslavia’s republic of Bosnia had a population of 4 million – Bosniak (Sunni Muslim, 44%), Serb (31%), and Croat (17%). On April 5, 1992, the Bosnian government declared its independence from Yugoslavia and therefore Bosnia Serbs immediately launched a war to create a separate state. They targeted Bosniaks and Croats --> “ethnic cleansing”. During the conflict (1992-95), about 100,000 were killed. In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces killed 8,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica, which was the largest massacre since the Holocaust in Europe.
Current Situation Dennis Blair emphasized to the Senate committee the principal challenges in Bosnia. He was concerned about Bosnia’s future stability where ethnic agendas still dominate the political process. Reforms have been stalled because of the struggles between the three main ethnic groups. Talks in Bosnia bring the US and the EU and Bosnian politicians together to discuss ways of breaking the country’s troubles. Currently, the Bosnian government includes 3 presidents, 13 prime ministers, and 180 ministers. July 11, 2009: July 11 marks the anniversary of the start of the 1995 genocide. Civilian life improved in terms of stability and security however economic recovery is very difficult and an estimated unemployment rate of 45% is present.
Warning Signs Past group violence During WWII many armed forces committed abuses and Croats collaborating with Nazi Germany killed several thousand Serbs, Roma (Gypsies), and Jews. Scapegoating Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic encouraged nationalism to change the Yugoslav constitution that strengthened Serbia’s position. He also changed the military so that 90% became Serbian and he extended his control over the country’s finance and security structures to support Serbian nationalists in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia. Armed conflict Bosniaks and Croatian civilians were the most assaulted in what became an “ethnic cleansing” of torture, rape, murder, robbery, and forced displacement. The Bosnian government tried to defend its territory but the Bosnian Serb forces kept committing more and more abuses. Preparations 1995 summer: the Bosnian Serb army prepared to capture and “cleanse” the 3 towns in eastern Bosnia that remained under government control: Srebrenica, Zepa, and Gorazde. The attacks occurred although they were declared “safe havens” by the peacekeeping UN forces.
Acts of Violence July 11, 1995: Bosniaks fled the Serbian attacks in Srebrenica and sought shelter at the UN base at Potocari. Serb forces arrived at the gates of the UN base at night and terrorized, raped, and killed some Bosniak civilians there. Men and boys were taken and were held by Serbian forces, some were killed immediately and others were taken to mass killing sites. The killing operation continued for 6 days.
Responses Sounding alarms Eyewitness testimony from women and from survivors provided first details to the international media and leaders about what happened to those detained by Bosnian Serbs. Policy The UN, EU, US, and Russia minimized the conflict and treated the Serbs, Bosniaks, and Croats as equal “warring parties”. Aid The main focus of the international response to the conflict is offering humanitarian aid instead of actually confronting the atrocities being committed. Enormous aid cared for the forced displacement, malnutrition, and medical emergencies. Armed force The Dutch soldiers failed to protect the Bosniak civilians in Srebrenica. Instead, they cooperated with the Bosnian Serbs as they captured men and expel women. Prosecutions On May 25, 1993, during the conflict and before the genocide, the UN Security Council created the ICTY. It was the first tribunal since Nuremberg and the first mandated to prosecute genocide. In 2001, the ICTY judged that genocide has happened in Srebrenica.
Legacy Surviving One of the hardest legacies for survivors is not knowing what happened to their loved ones. Bosnian Serb officials dug up mass graves and reburied their victims to hide their crimes. Rebuilding The war in Bosnia ended in 1995 with a peace agreement signed in Dayton, Ohio. It established two entities: the Serb Republic and the Bosnian Federation. And Srebrenica is now in the Serb Republic. Shifting Violence In 1999, the Serbian rule that had supported separatist Bosnian Serbs in Croatia/Bosnia launched an attack targeting ethnic Albanians in Serbia’s southern region of Kosovo. The conflict ended with Kosovo under international control. In Jan 2008, Kosovar Albanian leaders declared their independence but only gained partial international recognition.
Rwanda Overview In 1994, Rwanda’s 7 million population was composed of three ethnic groups: Hutu (85%), Tutsi (14%), and Twa (1%). Between April and July 1994, at least 500,000 Tutsis were killed when the Hutu government launched a plan to exterminate the Tutsis.
Current Situation The top suspect for the 1994 Rwandan genocide was arrested in Uganda and sent to Tanzania to face trial at the ICTR. Idelphonse Nizeyimana was indicted by the ICTR in 2000 and was charged with crimes against humanity and genocide complicity. April 7, 2009: Today is the 15th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Rwandans across the country gather to honor the deaths of at least 500,000 people over 100 days in 1994. In major justice reforms, the government expanded the jurisdiction of the gacaca courts to include cases of rapists and genocide planners. And ICTR secured the arrest of 70 people and conducted 20 convictions. It recently convicted Father Athanase Seromba. Survivors of the genocide face difficulties like poverty, complex health problems. The survivors are threatened with violence and attacked or killed by former perpetrators.
Warning Signs Past group violence Large-scale violence against civilians because of ethnic identity began in Rwanda towards the end of Belgian colonial rule. Scapegoating In the early 1990s, Hutu extremists within Rwanda's political elite blamed the entire Tutsi minority population for the country's increasing social, economic, and political pressures. Armed Conflict Beginning in 1991, the RPF launched a series of incursions into Rwanda. Government forces fought back but eventually signed a peace agreement, the Arusha Accords, in August 1993. Preparations Hutu extremists distributed propaganda suggesting that all Tutsi civilians were a part of the military threat posed by the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
Acts of Violence Violence began after the President Habyarimana's plane was shot down. Groups of Tutsi fled to places that served as refuges. Tutsis were killed in their homes. Entire families were killed at a time. Women were brutally raped. Sometimes, Tutsi were murdered or attacked by their neighbors. It is estimated that 200,000 people participated in the perpetration of the Rwandan genocide. Those caught helping Tutsi were vulnerable to becoming victims themselves.
Responses Sounding alarms The media didn’t highlight the brutal intention of the killers but the civil war itself. Aid Few international organizations actually remained in Rwanda during the genocide supporting and providing medical care. After the genocide was over, huge aid was provided for 2 million refugees who fled Rwanda and needed shelter, food, and water. Armed Force Within the starting days of the genocide, the UN Security council decided to reduce its peacekeeping force there from 2,500 to 270 soldiers only. And even these soldiers were poorly equipped and therefore didn’t do much. The civil war and the genocide only ended when the RPF Tutsi force defeated the Hutus. Prosecutions On November 8, 1994 the UN established the ICTR in Arusha, Tanzania which in 1998 delivered its first conviction for genocide when it judged Jean-Paul Akayesu guilty of leading acts of violence against Tutsis in the town where he served as a mayor.
Legacy Surviving Survivors lost their families and suffer complex health problems like HIV/AIDS as a result of sexual violence during the genocide. Rebuilding The government led by RPF members pursued a policy of “unity and reconciliation”. However, the government was also accused of human rights abuses against political opponents and in DRC. Shifting Violence Violence shifted from Rwanda to DRC, and it’s estimated that more than 5 million people have died in conflict in DRC in the two wars resulted after the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Burundi Overview In 1993, a civil war started in Burundi resulting 300,000 deaths, 500,000 refugees, and 800,000 internal displacements. The Museum’s warning is based on: Ethnic conflict in Burundi Human rights abuses Instability Relationship to 1994 Rwandan Genocide Rwanda and Burundi have similar ethnic conflict, composition, and violence. Although human rights abuses still occur, more stability is rising starting with the peace agreement in 2000 and elections in 2005.
What is the FNL? The FNL (Forces Nationale de Liberation) is a rebel movement that started fighting in April 2008 with the Burundian government however it all ended by May 26, 2008 with the signing of a ceasefire agreement. A summit in Bujumbara on December 4, 2008 concluded that both the Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and FNL leader AgathonRwasa agreed to demobilize and disarm their forces and rebels and release all prisonsers of war. The Palipehutu-FNL movement demobilized and converted itself to a political party by new name FNL in January 3, 2009 (by removing Palipehutu it removed any ethnic reference that is prohibited by constitution). After months of delay, the FNL started its actual demobilization on March 17, 2009 with 3,000 soldiers in west Bujumbara. This process will take time because 19,000 FNL fighters must go through the process. The government and the FNL decided to integrate 3,500 rebels into national army and police force. The process might take time also because some rebels refuse to complete the process because they haven’t received their demobilization salaries yet.
Current Situation June 28, 2010: Burundi will vote in presidential elections and unlike the 2005 elections this time it’s going to be a direct election by all voters not by parliament. Burundi’s peace process ended with the last rebel movement closing in 2009. South Africa ended its 8 year peace keeping mission in Burundi and withdrew its last troops from there just before the New Year. Tanzania closed 3 of its refugee camps by end of 2008 forcing Burundi refugees to return home or seek Tanzanian citizenship. 218,000 refugees were forced out and many of them were there since 1972 when major violence broke out in Burundi. Now, 35 years later Burundian refugees who fled to Tanzania are returning to their home country. Burundi remains unstable with weak infrastructure, insecurities, and divided population due to the remaining refugees and IDPs. Harsh weather conditions destroyed food sources and housing, extreme weather in late 2006 including floods and droughts destroyed many crops and homes and with more than 70% of the farmlands destroyed there's a big risk of food crisis. Plans to move capital from Bujumbarato Gitega are underway as well Many reforms in the area of “judiciary” have been made. 3,000 political prisoners have been released and the government has focused on creating greater ethnic and gender balances in the promotion of judges.
Warning Signs An unresolved past July 1, 1962: both Burundi and Rwanda gain independence from Bewlgian rule. Both nations are mainly formed from 85% Hutu and 14% Tutsi. In Rwanda, Hutus rose to power at independence but in Burundi Tutsi from inside the military took power and began a 30 year Tutsi dictatorship. Following years witnessed massive violence. The worst massacre occurred in 1972 when Hutu grousp attempted to overthrow the government. The Burundian military responded with a plan to attack all famous Hutus: political elite, educated leaders, and university students. Between May and July, government forces killed 200,000 Hutus. Ethnicity and the balance of power 1966 – 1988: Burundi dominated by Tutsi leadership, violence clashing between Hutu wanting democracy and Tutsi fearing genocide. Hutus have been excluded from positions of authority and power and the Tutsis’ fears were based on the massacres in Burundi and Rwanda and the 1994 genocide. On June 1, 1993 Melchior Ndadaye became Burundi’s first Hutu president. However in October 1993 the army opposed this new reform and assassinated Ndadaye. Civil War The assassination of Ndadaye marked the beginning of the civil war. Two main rebel groups emerged the FDD (forces for the defense of democracy) and the FNL.
Acts of Violence Civilians were targeted by government and rebel forces. After the presidential assassination, between 50,000 and 100,000 people were killed. The UN called the massive killings of the Tutsis after the assassinations “acts of genocide”. The army established many “regroupment camps” all over the country in order to separate the Hutu rural population and the Hutu militias. At least of 300,000 people were forced out of their homes into these unsanitary camps where many died. The Capital Bujumbara was ethnically cleansed. The fighting continued even after the peace accord in 2000. All sides committed atrocities, killing and raping of civilians. The government also participated in discrimination against Hutu.
Responses Political Progress Under political pressure an agreement brought CyprienNtaryamira to power. Weeks after his elections, he died on plane crash with Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana in April 1994, which marked the start of the genocide. Ongoing conflict and violence rose and power in Burundi remained Tutsi dominated although the presidency was held by a Hutu. On July 25, ex-president Pierre Buyoya led a coup to restore order. Neighboring states responded by imposing an embargo on Burundi which lasted till 1999. In August 2000, the Arusha conference arranged a peace agreement between government and Hutu opposition, this agreement called for ethnically balanced government and democratic elections. In 2003, the Pretoria Agreement was signed which brought the largest Hutu rebel group “CNDD” (national council for the defense of democracy) into peace. In the same year Buyoya stepped down from presidency and an interim government was established. Deploying the first African Union force In February 2003, the African union approved its first operation to deploy soldiers from South Africa, Mozambique, and Ethiopia to go help disarmament in Burundi. End of 2006, the UN created the BINUB (the UN integrated office in Burundi) to assist in the development. Transitional Justice In 2005, the UN and Burundi began discussions to establish new transitional justice: an institution that includes special courts to prosecute war crimes and human right violations and to consider any cases that too k place since independence in 1962.