The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was adopted by the United Nations
after World War II
Article 2 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:
(a) Killing its members;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Timeline (selected events):
Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union inflict a famine
upon the Ukraine
after people rebel against the imposed system of land management known as "collectivization," which seizes privately owned farmlands and puts people to work in collectives. An estimated 25,000-33,000 people die every day. There are an estimated 6 million to 10 million deaths.
1938-1945 - Nazi Germany, under Adolf Hitler, deems the Jewish population racially inferior and a threat, and kills an estimated six million Jews in Germany, Poland, the Soviet Union and other areas around Europe during World War II.
The term "genocide" is coined by lawyer Raphael Lemkin
December 9, 1948 - The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
January 12, 1951 -
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide enters into force. It is eventually ratified by 142 nations.
1975-1979 - Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot's attempt to turn Cambodia into a Communist peasant farming society leads to the deaths of up to two million people from starvation, forced labor and executions.
The Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein
attacks civilians who have remained in "prohibited" areas. The attacks include the use of mustard gas and nerve agents and result in the death of an estimated 100,000 Iraqi Kurds
1992-1995 - Yugoslavia, led by President Slobodan Milosevic, attacks Bosnia after it declares its independence. Approximately 100,000 people -- the majority of whom are Muslims, or Bosniaks, -- are killed in the conflict. There are mass executions of "battle-age" men and mass rape of women.
1994 - In Rwanda, an estimated 800,000 civilians, mostly from the Tutsi ethnic group, are killed over a period of three months.
July 17, 1998 -
The Rome Statute, to establish a permanent international criminal court, is adopted.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda establishes the precedent that rape during warfare is a crime of genocide. In Rwanda, HIV-infected
men had participated in the mass rape of Tutsi women.
1998 - The first genocide conviction occurs at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. Jean Paul Akayesu, the Hutu mayor of the town, Taba, is convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity.
July 1, 2002 -
The International Criminal Court
opens at The Hague, Netherlands, as the first permanent war crimes tribunal, with jurisdiction to try perpetrators of genocide. Previously, the U.N. Security Council
created ad hoc tribunals to try those responsible for genocide in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda.
In the Darfur region of Sudan
an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 people are killed.
Fugitive Radovan Karadzic
, former Bosnian Serb leader, is arrested. He is charged with genocide in connection with the Srebrenica massacre of 1995.
July 2004 -
The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate pass resolutions declaring the crisis in Darfur to be genocide
March 4, 2009 -
The International Criminal Court issues an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir
on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
December 10, 2010 -
The Genocide Archive of Rwanda opens
at the Kigali Genocide Memorial grounds in the country's capital.
August 2014 -
ISIS fighters attack the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar, home of a religious minority group called the Yazidis. A Yazidi lawmaker says that 500 men have been killed, 70 children have died of thirst and women are being sold into slavery.
January 2016 -
According to a 2016 United Nations
report, ISIS is believed to be holding 3,500 people as slaves
, most of which are women and children from the Yazidi community and other minority groups.
March 24, 2016 - Radovan Karadzic is found guilty of 10 of the 11 charges against him, including one count of genocide. He is sentenced to 40 years in prison.