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):1932-1933 -
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 six 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 Jewish people 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.
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.
The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda establishes the precedent that rape during warfare is a crime of genocide. In Rwanda, HIV-infected
men 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