Famine Crimes and Tragedies

Starvation isn’t an accident of nature. Starving more like wounding””something people do to one another. For many years I was a staunch advocate of criminalizing some forms of famine creation””especially the military measures that create the most extreme manifestations of famine, such as massive outright starvation. Today I am not so sure. The case for a criminology of famine creation is still strong, but turning humanitarian workers into criminal investigators would fatally compromise their mission.

Read my article in The Lancet on this question.

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One thought on “Famine Crimes and Tragedies

  1. The forced starvation at Kailek, as reported contemporaneously:

    May 5, 2004, “”Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part””

    May 12, 2004, “African Auschwitz”

    My pieces on Kailek, which addressed the question of whether genocide was occurring in Darfur, appeared too early to record a statement issued by Justice Africa in June 2004:

    “In response to the question, ‘Is the Darfur conflict genocide?’ [,]
    if we strictly apply the provisions of the 1948 Convention on the
    Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, there is no
    doubt that the answer is yes.” (Justice Africa [UK], June 18, 2004]

    Certainly the clarity of this statement was fully justified at the time, and not only by the crimes at Kailek. As one exceptionally well-informed Darfuri in the diaspora reported to me at the time: “Eric, there are many Kaileks today.” Mutatis mutandis, the same remains true in various regions of Darfur today.

    Eric Reeves

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