The Criminology of Genocide: The Death and Rape of Darfur


Nearly 400,000 Africans may have been killed in racially motivated legally destructive, state supported, and militarily unjustified attacks on the farms and villages of the Darfur region of Sudan. Using victimization survey data collected from Darfurian survivors living in refugee camps in Chad, and drawing on conflict theory, we present evidence that the Sudanese government has directly supported violent killings and rapes in a lethally destructive exercise of power and control. In the language of the Geneva Convention, these attacks have inflicted on African tribal groups "conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction in whole or in part." The data include explicit evidence of the central mediating role played by racism in the attacks. There is little or no evidence from the surveys to support the claim of the Sudanese government that the attacks have been aimed at rebel groups as a counter-insurgency strategy. The Sudanese government claims are by this analysis not credible as self-defense arguments, but rather of the exercise of power and control through denial. Further forms of such denial are considered, including the slowness of modern American thinking to advance the study of genocide.

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