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”"
    http://www.sudanreeves.org/Sections-article178-p1.html

    May 12, 2004, “African Auschwitz”
    http://www.sudanreeves.org/Sections-req-viewarticle-artid-191-allpages-1-theme-Printer.html

    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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