A Century of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts

By Samuel Totten; William S. Parsons et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 17

The Intervention and Prevention of Genocide: Where There Is the Political Will, There Is a Way

SAMUEL TOTTEN


Introduction

As is readily apparent from the mass of killing fields that stained the globe throughout-and, indeed, late into-the 20th century, there is a dire need for an efficacious system of intervention and prevention of genocide. Although humanity is far from accomplishing the latter goal, progress has been made, and there is hope on the horizon. Such hope, though, will only become reality if there is the will to act early and effectively when genocide early warning signals are first detected.


Confronting Genocide

Over the course of the past century, many perpetrators of genocide have gone unfettered in their efforts to exterminate certain groups of people, while attempts to prevent or halt genocide have been, for the most part, unsuccessful. The terrible fact is, in more cases than not, when the world community did act, it was after a particular genocide had already begun; because of that, the murdered and the maimed already numbered in the tens of thousands, if not more.

Indeed, far too little has been done to intervene in ethnic strife and other types of conflict prior to the outbreak of genocide. Granted, it is not

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