Genocide in Cambodia


genocide, in international law, the intentional and systematic destruction, wholly or in part, by a government of a national, racial, religious, or ethnic group. Although the term genocide was first coined in 1944, the crime itself has been committed often in history. It was initially used to describe the systematic campaign for the extermination of peoples carried on by Nazi Germany, in its attempts in the 1930s and 40s to destroy the entire European Jewish community, and to eliminate other national groups in Eastern Europe. In 1945, the charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal listed persecution on racial or religious grounds as a crime for which the victorious Allies would try Nazi offenders. It established the principle of the individual accountability of government officials who carried out the extermination policies. The United Nations, by a convention concluded in 1949, defined in detail the crime of genocide and provided for its punishment by competent national courts of the state on whose territory the crime was committed, or by international tribunal. Charging that the convention violated national sovereignty, especially in its provision for an international tribunal and in the potential liability of an individual citizen, the United States did not ratify it until 37 years later, in 1986. An international tribunal was established to prosecute genocide cases in the aftermath of the slaughter of more than 500,000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994. In 1995 top civilian and military Bosnian Serb and Bosnian Croat leaders were charged by an international tribunal with genocide in the killing of thousands of Muslims during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

See studies by I. L. Horowitz (1981), L. Kuper (1982), E. Staub (1989), S. Power (2001), and D. J. Goldhagen (2009).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Genocide in Cambodia: Selected full-text books and articles

A History of Cambodia By David Chandler Westview Press, 2000 (3rd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 12 "Revolution in Cambodia"
Genocide: Conceptual and Historical Dimensions By George J. Andreopoulos University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "The Cambodian Genocide: Issues and Responses" begins on p. 191
Voices from S-21: Terror and History in Pol Pot's Secret Prison By David Chandler University of California Press, 1999
The Specter of Genocide: Mass Murder in Historical Perspective By Robert Gellately; Ben Kieman Cambridge University Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 14 "Genocide in Cambodia and Ethiopia"
Contested Pasts: The Politics of Memory By Katharine Hodgkin; Susannah Radstone Routledge, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 9 "Nationalism and Memory at the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide Crimes, Phnom Penh, Cambodia"
Annihilating Difference: The Anthropology of Genocide By Alexander Laban Hinton University of California Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Dance, Music and the Nature of Terror in Democratic Kampuchea"
Elusive Justice for the Victims of the Khmer Rouge By Marks, Stephen P Journal of International Affairs, Vol. 52, No. 2, Spring 1999
Facing Death in Cambodia By Peter Maguire Columbia University Press, 2005
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