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Volume II documents and analyses genocide and extermination throughout the early modern and modern eras. It tracks their global expansion as European and Asian imperialisms, and Euroamerican settler colonialism, spread across the globe before the Great War, forging new frontiers and impacting Indigenous communities in Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, and Australia. Twenty-five historians with expertise on specific regions explore examples on five continents, providing comparisons of nine cases of conventional imperialism with nineteen of settler colonialism, and offering a substantial basis for assessing the various factors leading to genocide. This volume also considers cases where genocide did not occur, permitting a global consideration of the role of imperialism and settler-Indigenous relations from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries. It ends with six pre-1918 cases from Australia, China, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe that can be seen as 'premonitions' of the major twentieth-century genocides in Europe and Asia.
In October 1945 the Nazi defendants at Nuremberg were charged, for the first time in international law, with ‘genocide’. The Nuremberg indictments included, under war crimes, ‘deliberate and systematic genocide, viz., the extermination of racial and national groups, against the civilian populations of certain occupied territories in order to destroy particular races and classes of people and national, racial, or religious groups, particularly Jews, Poles, and Gypsies and others’.1
Genocide has a way of imposing silence. Part of its purpose is to erase history, and human voices. This series of three volumes aims to contribute to breaking the silence that so often follows genocidal outbreaks. These volumes attempt to document and understand this global phenomenon. The term “genocide,” as a way of describing the “practice of extermination of nations and ethnic groups,” was coined in 1943, when Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959) penned the preface to his 1944 book Axis Rule in Occupied Europe. Five years later the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the Genocide Convention. But Lemkin considered genocide to have much older roots. He had set about writing – but did not complete before his death – a three-volume history of genocide from ancient times, in which he argued that the phenomenon had “followed humanity throughout history.”
In 2018, the UN-sponsored Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) found that Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime had perpetrated two genocides while in power from 1975 to 1979. The Trial Chamber of the ECCC’s hybrid international-national court in Phnom Penh convicted the two surviving top leaders of that regime. Both Nuon Chea, Pol Pot’s number 2, and Khieu Samphan, the regime’s head of state from 1976 to 1979, were found guilty of the genocide of Cambodia’s ethnic Vietnamese minority. Samphan thus became the first head of state to be convicted of genocide in an international court. The Trial Chamber also found Nuon Chea guilty of the genocide of the country’s ethnic Cham Muslim minority.1 The ECCC had previously, in 2014, convicted both men of crimes against humanity for the persecution and mass murder of members of their country’s Khmer majority population, and they were already serving life sentences in Phnom Penh.2