Learning about genocide causes us to question why anyone would commit such extreme acts of violence. Those behind genocide have a rationale that we are usually incapable of understanding.

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was signed in December 1948, and has been in force since January 1951. Article II of the convention defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such:

Killing members of the group.

Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.

Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.


Using the United Nations criteria for genocide, conduct a case study on one of the current mass killings happening in the world in: Darfur, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Ukraine, Burma, or Nigeria. Write a paper that includes the following:

Give an overview of why genocides happen.

Which of the four types of genocide is happening in the country you chose: developmental, despotic, ideological, or retributive? Explain your rationale.

What factors were the precursors leading to this genocide? How long has the killing/conflict been going on?

Who are the perpetrators? What are the perpetrators hoping to achieve by engaging in this genocide? Who are the victims? 

Has this genocide been covert, and is there denial by the perpetrators to cover up the crime?

Has the international community intervened in this atrocity?