De Armeense genocide

 /  Erkenning  /  Formele erkenning  /  Whitaker rapport van de Verenigde Naties

Whitaker rapport van de Verenigde Naties

[2 juli 1985]

2 July 1985

Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities
Thirty-eighth session
Item 4 of the provisional agenda

Revised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide prepared by Mr. B. Whitaker

(B) The concept of genocide

[paragraaf 24, pagina 8-10]

24. Toynbee stated that the distinguishing characteristics of the twentieth century in evolving the development of genocide “are that it is committed in cold blood by the deliberate fiat of holders of despotic political power, and that the perpetrators of genocide employ all the resources of present-day technology and organization to make their planned massacres systematic and complete”. (11) The Nazi aberration has unfortunately not been the only case of genocide in the twentieth century. Among other examples which can be cited as qualifying are the German massacre of Hereros in 1904, (12) the Ottoman massacre of Armenians in 1915-1916, (13) the Ukrainian pogrom of Jews in 1919, (14) the Tutsi massacre of Hutu in Burundi in 1965 and 1972, (15) the Paraguayan massacre of Ache Indians prior to 1974, (16) the Khmer Rouge massacre in Kampuchea between 1975 and 1978, (17) and the contemporary Iranian killings of Baha'is. (18) Apartheid is considered separately in paragraphs 43-46 below. A number of other cases may be suggested. It could seem pedantic to argue that some terrible mass-killings are legalistically not genocide, but on the other hand it could be counter-productive to devalue genocide through over-diluting its definition.

(11) Arnold Toynbee, Experiences (London, Oxford University Press, 1969).
(12) General von Trotha issued an extermination order; water-holes were poisoned and the African peace emissaries were shot. In all, three quarters of the Herero Africans were killed by the Germans then colonizing present-day Namibia, and the Hereros were reduced from 80,000 to some 15,000 starving refugees. See P. Fraenk, The Namibians (London, Minority Rights Group, 1985).
(13) At least 1 million, and possibly well over half of the Armenian population, are reliably estimated to have been killed or death-marched by independent authorities and eye-witnesses. This is corroborated by reports in United States, German and British archives and of contemporary diplomats in the Ottoman Empire, including those of its ally Germany. The German Ambassador, Wangenheim, for example, on 7 July 1915 wrote “the government is indeed pursuing its goal of exterminating the Armenian race in the Ottoman Empire” (Wilhelmstrasse archives). Though the successor Turkish Government helped to institute trials of a few of those responsible for the massacres at which they were found guilty, the present official Turkish contention is that genocide did not take place although there were many casualties and dispersals in the fighting, and that all the evidence to the contrary is forged. See, inter alia, Viscount Bryce and A. Toynbee, The Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire 1915-16 (London, HMSO, 1916); G. Chaliand and Y. Ternon, Genocide des Armeniens (Brussels, Complexe, 1980); H. Morgenthau, Ambassador Morgenthau's Story (New York, Doubleday, 1918); J. Lepsius, Deutschland and Armenien (Potsdam, 1921; shortly to be published in French by Fayard, Paris); R.G. Hovanissian, Armenia on the road to independence (Berkeley, University of California, 1967); Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, A Crime of Silence (London, Zed Press, 1985); K. Gurun, Le Dossier armenien (Ankara, Turkish Historical Society, 1983); B. Simsir and others, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire (Istanbul, Bogazici University Press, 1984); T. Ataov, A Brief Glance at the “Armenian Question” (Ankara, University Press, 1984); V. Goekjiam, The Turks before the Court of History (New Jersey, Rosekeer Press, 1984); Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Armenia, the Continuing Tragedy (Geneva, World Council of Churches, 1984); Foreign Policy Institute, The Armenian Issue (Ankara, F.P.I., 1982).
(14) Between 100,000-250,000 Jews were killed in 2,000 pogroms by Whites, Cossacks and Ukrainian nationalists. See Z. Katz ed., Handbook of Major Soviet Nationalities (New York, Free Press, 1975), p.362; A. Sachar, A History of the Jews (New York, Knopf, 1967).
(15) The Tutsi minority government first liquidated the Hutu leadership in 1965, and then slaughtered between 100,000 and 300,000 Hutu in 1972. See Rene Lemarchand, Selective Genocide in Burundi (London, Minority Rights Group, 1974) and Leo Kuper, The Pity of it All (London, Duckworth, 1977).
(16) In 1974 the International League for the Rights of Man together with the Inter-American Association for Democracy and Freedom, charging the Government of Paraguay with complicity in genocide against the Ache (Guayaki Indians), alleged that the latter had been enslaved, tortured and massacred; that food and medicine had been denied them; and their children removed and sold. See Norman Lewis and others in Richard Arens ed., Genocide in Paraguay (Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1976); and R. Arens “The Ache of Paraguay” in J. Porter, Genocide and Human Rights (op.cit.).
(17) It is estimated that at least 2 million people were killed by Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge government of Democratic Kampuchea, out of a total population of 7 million. Even under the most restricted definition, this constituted genocide, since the victims included target groups such as the Chams (an Islamic minority) and the Buddhist monks. See Izvestia, 2 November 1978; F. Ponchaud, Cambodia Year Zero (London, Penguin Books, 1978); W. Shawcross, Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia (New York, Simon and Schuster, 1979); V. Can and others, Kampuchea Dossier: The Dark Years (Hanoi, Viet Nam Courier, 1979); D. Hawk, The Cambodia Documentation Commission (New York, Columbia University, 1983); L. Kuper, International Action against Genocide (London, Minority Rights Group, 1984).
(18) See evidence presented to United Nations Human Rights Commission and Sub-Commission, 1981-1984, and R. Cooper, The Baha'is of Iran (London, Minority Rights Group, 1985).

(B) Analysis of the Convention: 10. Enforcement

[paragraaf 57, pagina 28]

57. Some encouragement nevertheless may be drawn from the recent national prosecutions by Kampuchea and Equatorial Guinea. (50) Another interesting analogous precedent has been set by the case of Filartiga versus Pena, where an action for $10.4 million damages in a New York court was upheld against an alien torturer who was on a temporary visit within the jurisdiction . But it was partly the failure to make progress internationally that caused Israel to take unilateral measures to seize and try Eichmann.

(50) There have also been non-governmental tribunals, such as the Permanent People's Tribunal held in Paris on the Armenians case in 1984, whose evidence and verdict is published as A Crime of Silence (London, Zed Press, 1985).

(B) Future options

[paragraaf 72, pagina 38]

72. It is important that the historic momentum of the spirit of international unity against genocide displayed by Nuremberg and the Convention should not be allowed to falter or lapse. Failure to make effective international legal provisions is likely to threaten peace, to drive nations to desperate unilateral measures (such as the abduction of Adolf Eichmann in Argentina to bring him to trial in Israel for genocidal acts in 1961), or to open excuses for the deplorable violence of terrorist reprisals. (55) For too many centuries war and violence have been the standard method of avenging grievances, or of creating new ones. Now in the era of atomic weapons, human society depends for its future survival upon establishing in time alternative international legal means to resolve such disputes peacefully. Despite the problems in doing so, the size of the risk permits little further time for any more delay.

(55) More than 50 Turkish diplomats, who certainly were innocent of any possible involvement in the Ottoman Empire's treatment of Armenians, have been assassinated by terrorists. The reform of legitimate international measures to deal with genocide would be a highly constructive way to cut support for terrorism.

Pdf van het complete rapport: Revised and updated report on the question of the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide (en)