Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
session D3 1: Movement Stemming from Genocide
Wednesday, 21/July/2021:
7:30pm - 9:00pm

Session Chair: Henry Theriault, International Association of Genocide Scholars, United States of America
Location: Room 1


Episodes of Genocide: The Gatumba Lens

Christopher P Davey

Brigham Young University, United States of America

This paper addresses how single episodes of genocides, or massacres, frame an intersubjective pattern of genocide. In August 2004, a Burundian refugee camp housing mainly Congolese Tutsi refugees or Banyamulenge, was attacked in a manner indicative of violence against Tutsi during the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Whilst this case can be seen in isolation, it serves as a distinct narrative point for Banyamulenge in Congo and in the wider diaspora. This paper examines the significance of a single massacre using the Gatumba case study, and will use various sources, such as NGO reporting, to recount this 2004 attack. In doing I answer the following question: How does massacre create genocide narrative identity? It is then hypothesized that massacre creates meaning in memory as a distinct narrative point, constructing a gneocie narrative identity. This paper focuses on a narrative analysis of fieldwork interviews with current and former Banyamulenge soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as interviews with Banyamulenge refugees in the global diaspora, particularly those in the UK and USA. The creation of genocide narrative idnetities happens through the processes of reciting trauma, narrative production within group networks, and through memorialization.

The Principle of Non-Refoulement in Atrocity Prevention

Susan Braden

Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, United States of America

Transitional justice in societies which have experienced atrocities includes a variety of processes which fall under the pillars of truth, justice, reparations, memory, and guarantees of non-recurrence. Some scholars argue that processes contributing to each of these pillars should be pursued simultaneously, to help ensure a society is able to process things and move forward. As the guarantees of non-recurrence pillar is rather vague and open-ended as a concept, it has been regarded as the least developed thus far. As a result, it is necessary to broaden perspectives on approaches which contribute to guaranteeing the non-recurrence of atrocities but have not yet been identified as such. The principle of non-refoulement is one of these. It is an aspect of international law stating that individuals, including but not limited to refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants (regardless of migration status) should not be transferred to a country where their safety is in danger or they face degrading or ill-treatment. Most often, refugees have fled from a country due to a threat of identity-based violence against them. Since the guarantee of non-recurrence pillar specifically refers to preventing the recurrence of atrocities, utilizing the principle of non-refoulement in international law should serve as an additional atrocity prevention tool to further ensure that those who have experienced identity-based violence in a country are not returned there to face the same violence and persecution. Therefore, this presentation will demonstrate why the principle of non-refoulement should be considered as one of the many tools which contributes to the guarantee of non-recurrence of atrocities under transitional justice, and thus contributes to atrocity prevention overall.

A Theory of Displacement Atrocity Crimes: New Frontiers in Mid-Range Theory

Andrew R. Basso

Western University, Canada

Why do perpetrators use forced displacement as a tool to commit atrocity crimes? ‘Displacement Atrocity’ (DA) crimes are understood as indirect killing systems that uniquely fuse forced displacement and systemic deprivations of vital daily needs (food, water, clothing, shelter, and medical care) to destroy populations in whole or in part. In this presentation, I offer a full typology of DA crimes based on genocidal or non-genocidal intent (x-axis) and kettling or escorting subtypes (y-axis). Kettling DA crimes occur when perpetrators displace populations into large geographies and do not allow them to escape from a cordon of death measured in geographical area. Escorting DA crimes occur when perpetrators exploit long distances and destroy targeted populations using linear death marches measured in kilometres. I have also uncovered causal pathways which specifically trigger DA crimes. To demonstrate the utility of the DA crime theory as an explanatory and predictive model, I use the Herero Genocide (genocidal kettling, 1904-1908), Ottoman Genocide of Christian Minorities (genocidal escorting, 1914-1925), Expulsion of Germans (non-genocidal escorting, 1944-1950), and structural possibilities for climate violence (non-genocidal kettling, 21st Century) as cases. I also test these processes of violence against counter-cases that were perpetrated at approximately the same times and spaces as the main crucial cases but DA crimes did not occur: the Nama Genocide (1905-1908), Hamidian Massacres (1894-1897), the Holocaust (1938-1945), and possible prevention regimes for climate violence (21st Century). This important addition to mid-range genocide theory identifies and classifies a new type of annihilatory practice in DA crimes. This aids in recognizing, stopping, and punishing violent displacements in the past, present, and future. It is vital to study these practices given the current record number 79.5 million displaced persons globally and the structural possibilities for future DA crimes against disempowered groups.

Can Children Speak? New Perspectives on Forced Displacement and Survival during the Armenian Genocide

Asya Darbinyan

Clark University, United States of America

A major focus in scholarly discussion on Armenian children during genocide has been their persecution and victimhood. In very few publications children emerge as important actors; their individual experiences and agency are rarely considered or analyzed. Writing about the importance of children’s eyewitness testimonies, Donald E. Miller rightly stated, “rather than seeing it as a liability, we believe that this point of view [children’s perspective] offers a unique opportunity to understand human tragedy as it affects those who are typically voiceless in the society.” (D. E. Miller and L. Touryan Miller, 1993) Building on Miller’s argument, in this paper, I examine the experiences and accounts of Armenian children from Van, Bitlis, and elsewhere, who found temporary shelter and refuge in the Russian Empire. My project recovers the largely neglected voices of this particular group of survivors of the genocide and displacement at the Ottoman-Russian border regions during the First World War.

This paper focuses on the accounts of Armenian orphans and underlines both the devastating condition of children and other refugees during the crisis and the challenges they yet had to face, trying to survive in a new place. Furthermore, these testimonies show the level of self-awareness of these children in distress. While their memories of suffering and loss were very fresh and painful, in many instances these refugee orphans realized the depth of their situation, complained about the shortcomings of the relief work and, at the same time, appreciated the assistance provided for them.