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Contribution to the development of science of genocide


Contribution to the development of science of genocide




This paper considers important factors of the science of genocide, subject, and method. Important component of every science is its language made of notions and terms, whose meaning within the system of that science is strictly defined. A special attention is focused on the social phenomenon - genocide, a part and important indicator of social reality, which can be studied and which is scientifically analyzed from the viewpoint of various sciences and disciplines. Given that this is a social phenomenon, in which its subjects are – people, as well as the genocide victims, which also has its structure and emerges in a process, it is as a social phenomenon and process, by all its important factors and indicators predominantly a subject of social sciences, that is, a social science – the science of genocide, special and independent within the classification of social sciences. In numerous scientific and other papers, along with the phenomenon of genocide, the notion and phenomenon of Holocaust is mentioned, which required us to point out primarily to the semantic difference between these notions, not the difference in the content. The most productive and the only valid way to acquire the scientific knowledge is the science based research, so that this paper points to its relevance as general and the most comprehensive integral and analytical scientific method, within which all the research methods are applied, more or less, defined by the features of the phenomenon – subject, type of the research and allegiance with the science – scientific discipline. Key words: genocide, Holocaust, research, science based research, relevance, science, science of genocide.




In all the eras of the history, genocides and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law were committed and inflicted huge losses upon the civilization. It was only during the 20th century that tens of million of people were killed on the genocide background. Massacres (mass murders) and other forms of crimes have been unfortunately parts of human history ever since the oldest times. Based on available relevant documentation, the continuity of crimes can be traced in Europe and other continents, motives behind, and various manifestations. Many of the present liberal-democratic states committed crimes at some point in history. The foundations of the most famous and even today the most stable national countries incorporated the religious, civil, crusade and conquering wars, inquisition, reformations and counterreformations, reconcquista, genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law. All these movements or institutions manipulated people and their national, ethnic, and religious feature. Those were not principal or abstract controversies, but concrete battles, which had at their disposal strictly formal methods: pyres, baptizing, deportations, forcible transfer, concentration camps, gas chambers, mass graves, missionaries, holy wars, holy alliances. The 20th century is unfortunately the century of genocide. Various groups (national, ethic, racial, or religious) have lived through such attempt of partial or whole extermination. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sandžak (Serbia and Montenegro), and Kosovo have been the multiple testimonial that the 20th century is – the century of genocide. It was marked with monstrous inhumane tendency towards the extermination of the entire national, ethnic, racial, or religious groups as such, as well as prevention of their biological, cultural, social, or economic survival.

1.           Prerequisites for the foundation and development of the science of genocide with the special focus on the subject of science

Important factors of every science, and accordingly the scientific discipline, are the subject, method and the language of the science, which consists of notions and terms, whose meaning in that science and discipline is strictly defined. Starting from these factors, and opening the discussion on the phenomenon of social reality as the subject of science and its identification, definition, and differentiation from other phenomena – subjects of scientific disciplines, a complex issue is opened: how to observe and treat a rather complex phenomenon, whose actors are versatile and different, dynamic and developing as a segment of one science or as a subject of a separate discipline or even independent science in the classification of science in general, which go beyond the research arena of social or humanistic sciences. Genocide is the works form of crimes against humanity and international law. It is the most complex social phenomenon, and in this regard, there are several issues such as, among other things: what kind of phenomenon is it, why is it the most complex phenomenon what makes it such that we qualify it as the most complex. That is the phenomenon which includes many components, such as components of natural, psychological and social factors, for which reason we can talk about genocide as a subject of separate and independent science that can detect and identify versatile and different factors, as specific subjects of specific disciplines within the science of genocide, like the history of genocide, sociology of genocide, psychology of genocide, politics of genocide, legal science – a discipline on genocide, criminology of genocide, philosophy of genocide, anthropology of genocide, pathology of genocide, natural science – a discipline on genocide, physics of genocide, etc. To corroborate these statements, it is important to point out to the phenomenon of genocide as the subject of separate and independent science. Genocide, by definition, is the gravest, most complex, and most heinous form of crime in the history of civilization and one of the most complex social processes and phenomena, projected in time and space as a process which results from (collective) ideology, politics, and practice, with its phases, systematic and planned character, broad context, dynamics and intensity, pursued continuously (against unprotected, helpless, innocent, and unarmed victims, selected only because they belong to, according to international law, protected group, which is the target of an attack only because of its belonging), as a series of mutually and functionally interconnected acts, committed by a large number of organized perpetrators in the process characterized by plan, preparation, organization, and execution, with a full approval, coordination, direct involvement, and control of the highest state authorities, which is also the characteristics for the genocide against Bosniacs in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the end of the 20th century. It is clear that this is the notion produced and supported by the most powerful political subject – state, which plans, prepares, organizes, and directs (indirectly and directly) massive participation of people. Without massive participation of people, genocide is not possible, given that this is a phenomenon, which, among other things, understands the massive character, on the side of AFW2980eng 4 the victim and the collectivity on the side of the perpetrator, whereby people is massively involved in perpetration of genocide and other forms of crime against humanity and international law. Talking about, for example, massive participation of people in genocide, in the genocide against Bosniacs in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the UN Safe area Srebrenica in July 1995, which was, according to the International Court of Justice Judgment in the case Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Serbia and Montenegro (2007.), “designed and executed” by Bosnian Serbs, which exonerated Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) of any culpability for the genocide in Bosnia, based on the research of the Republika Srpska Government, more than 25.000 Serbs participated (in various ways). Genocide (“in all eras inflicted huge damages to the civilization”) is independent, specific, recognizable phenomenon – process, very complex, widespread, and sufficiently relevant phenomenon – process, which can be empirically identified and studied as unity of different in different spaces and different times. It is at the same time, and organized, targeting and meaningful phenomenon - process, which by its contents, direction and intensity has important negative determinants, and as such it can be empirically identified and cognitively understood as a special social reality or the factor of social reality, different form other social realities – phenomena and processes in human society. Genocide is extremely complex empirical phenomenon of social reality, dynamic and structured and developing, consisting of numerous factors, that are currently and potentially subject of research and study through many different sciences and disciplines. In this regard, various dimensions and aspects of social and scientific interest and knowledge can be discussed, which can be reached through the research within various and versatile sciences and disciplines. Considering the subject of science in general, science of genocide can be discussed, whose subject of research is its generality, correctness and rules in movement and development of genocide in Europe and worldwide, aimed at providing scientific explanation and prognosis. Observing the science of genocide as a complex, special and independent science, made up of several scientific disciplines, that have their own subject and method, it is difficult talk about a consistent and coherent theory of that special and independent science, and it is therefore more purposeful to build, based on empiric research and generalization of results, and develop midsize theories, which can serve as postulate for induction and generalization of a relatively single theory as relevant factor of the science of genocide. The process of identification of subject of science of genocide relies on relevant scientifically theoretical and methodological references and sources: 1) Existing scientific and theoretical definition of phenomenon and notion of genocide; 2) Learning from scientific and other knowledge about genocide; 3) Analysis of methodology of the genocide research, which facilitates the scientific and methodological knowledge about genocide as a phenomenon and process; 4) Analysis of categories and terminology of the system used in research and knowledge about genocide. As for the present definition of the notion and phenomenon of genocide, it is important to point out that there are ample definitions, directed and oriented primarily by the interests of science and/or discipline, for whose needs the definition is designed. This is the reason why one single definition of genocide cannot be specified, given that every science and discipline emphasizes the specifics of provisions based on its subject of research and the needs of its own, functional, and meaningful scientific knowledge. Unfortunately, there is full and complete agreement among the authors on the definition of scientific notion and social reality known as genocide. Considering that the scientific definition is a summit of the scientific and theoretical effort, and the methodology of science and discipline determined the important norms, rules, criteria, and principles, and provisions of valid logical and scientific definition, it remains then our duty understand the codified, generally accepted rules, based on the specifics of genocide – the social phenomenon and process, the subject of separate science and to acknowledge it is a subject of separate and independent science during the process of designing the definition. It is the task of methodology to ensure conditions for building and verification of the definition of the subject of science of genocide, but not only the mere building of the definition. That task belongs to the theory of science and the practice based in science and professional expertise. As it was already stated, the methodology of science and/or scientific discipline determines the rules of logically valid definition, which had to meet the criteria of every scientific definition, or at least the one that pretends and strive towards the constitution of a valid logical and scientific definition. At the same time, the valid definition of a notion and term, thus reality imagined and depicted with an appropriate notion and term facilitates the determination of criteria for its classification, as the basis for a deeper and comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon and process – genocide, which is the subject of separate and independent science and scientific research. It should never be forgotten that the AFW2980eng 6 classification is an initial form of measurement that allows the unity of relation quality – quantity in the process of scientific knowledge through the scientific research. There are various kinds of definitions in the science and scientific methodology, so that in this case we can start with the foundations for the determinations of definition of genocide. We have reached the general and common provisions of these definitions through the analysis of the known definitions of genocide, and they are:

1. intention as defined determination for certain activity, whose target is genocide;

2. necessity of system and organization for perpetration of genocide;

3. subjects, individual and collective, ideological and operative during planning, preparation and execution of genocide;

4. motives, interests, and objectives of genocide perpetrators;

5. methods and tools used to carry our genocide;

6. victims and characteristics of the genocide victims;

7. consequences and results of genocide.


The factors of space and time in which the genocide is carried out should be added. These important common indicators of different definitions can clearly serve as basis for the approach in building and formation of working definition of genocide from the viewpoint of needs and demands of establishment and development of science of genocide, a separate science in the system of science in general. The science began studying this problem seriously during the 1990-ies, and the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the genocide against Bosniacs gave their significant contribution in this matter. Considering the time, when science paid a special attention to the issue of genocide definition, and its scientific research, a serious and responsible task is ahead of those who want to work seriously on the matter. There is fragmented, partial and incomplete scientific knowledge of this matter of genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law, but there is also a professional knowledge, which constitutes the form of concretization of scientific knowledge in the process of application. This is best illustrated and corroborated in the definition of genocide in the UN GA Convention on prevention and punishment of crime of genocide of 1948, which falls into the group of the most important international legal documents, legacy of civilization, as the result of international community experience with genocide and Holocaust from WWII. This is a normative definition adopted by almost all national legislations in their national laws relative to process and actions of legal practice. The same applies to the international justice institutions.


2.           Holocaust and genocide


Term Holocaust is used to denote genocide and all other forms of crimes against humanity and international law, perpetrated by Nazis, their collaborationists, and the supporting regimes in the period from 1933 to 1945, in a systematic and planned manner in different parts of Europe, when they killed tens of millions of people. There were about 6 million of Jews among them, more than half of the European Jews, including 1.5 million of children. Term Holocaust was used throughout the history to denote massacres of civilian population, disastrous catastrophes, mass murders, such as for example massive slaughters at time of crusade wars or atrocities against Kazaks in the 17th century. The word Holocaust originates from the Greek word holokaustos and consists of the Greek complex root – hólon, which means general, comprehensive and kaustón, which means pure, purified, burnt. Word holokaustón for old Greeks meant burnt sacrifice to the earthly and underground Gods and depicts an interesting association for Nazi striving towards the pagan old raw models. The word appears in Greek translation of the Biblical sacrifice known as olah, which is sacred burning devoted to the Lord, and there were also other sacrifices in food. In the first half of the 20th century, the term holocaust was adopted in the English language and it named and marked massacres, wars, and disasters. After the WWII, the word holocaust was exclusively linked with the Nazi destruction of European Jews, and it is often the case nowadays that the word is exclusively used to describe and clarify the Nazi genocide against Jews. Yet, there is a growing awareness that he holocaust has to include other attempts to destroy other non-Jewish nations, such as the Nazi genocide against Roma people within the same project of destruction and extermination. As of then, the word slowly started building its path in the English language, so that it is written with the capital letter and in the biggest number of cases, it is exclusively linked with the genocide against Jews. In the Hebrew language, and very often at the international stage, if anyone wanted to emphasize the specific Jewish component of Holocaust, the term Shoah was used, also of Biblical origin, which means trouble, misfortune, big disaster. That word appeared for the first time in a newspaper article in the Hebrew language published in Jerusalem in 1940. The state of Israel introduced in 1951 the holiday Jom ha-shoah as The remembrance day to all the Holocaust victims. Today, the word Holocaust primarily signifies the state and its authorities planned and organized Nazi genocide against the European Jews, and in broader context also organized extermination of other (targeted) groups, primarily Rom people, pursued from 1933 to 1945 in Germany and the occupied Europe the Nazi Germany and its allies and collaborationists. Jews were the primary victims of the Nazi regime. Roma and other Slavic people also were selected – targeted for destruction or decimated due to the national, ethnic, or religious reasons. Millions of other people, including homosexuals, mentally disturbed or physically disabled, political and religious opponents (Jehovah witnesses, for example), Soviet POW’s, Polish aristocracy and intellectual elite, went also through unimaginable terror and death under the Nazi regime. Leasing authorities and Holocaust scholars, including Prof. Dr Israel Charny, agree that the word Holocaust cannot and must not be separated fro the context of other genocidal slaughters conducted against other national, ethnic, racial, religious, or other groups. Acknowledging the opinion of the scientific authority of Prof. Charny, and based on comparison and analysis of important definitions of realities and notions – Holocaust and genocide, it is apparently semantic, not the material difference. Namely, what makes the phenomenon of genocide, apart from the genocidal intent, ideology and politics as relevant indicators of every genocide, to be named and marked as Holocaust, is also the fact that the destruction of Jews by Nazis is definitely the most systematic attempt of total and complete genocide (ever committed). Holocaust has been and it is the archetype transformative event on the history of the Western civilization which produced something that no other genocide, committed before, ever produced – heinous crimes of mass destruction of people, thanks to unique ideology and politics of killing, pursued by well organized state, extremely advanced people and civilization which used the best tools and technologies to carry out planned extermination of human beings. Thus, according to relevant determinants of this phenomenon, there is no material but rather semantic difference between genocide and Holocaust, whereby we should always consider the fact that the Holocaust (destruction and extermination of Jews and/or genocide against Jews) is often described as unique (genocidal) event in the history, which basically it is. To avoid any misunderstanding, this paper does not consider any difference between genocides, let alone the hierarchy of their order. The basis for understanding and defining the subject of science of genocide is comparatively separate, independent, and extracted phenomenon of genocide within the social reality, which can be empirically detected, identified, and cognitively understood, and thus scientifically learned. Starting from versatile and different structural factors of extremely complex phenomenon of genocide, they demand multidisciplinary approach in this scientific research.


3.           About scientific research, scientific and social relevance of the research of genocide


The contemporary methodology literature offers us the definition of research and scientific research based on which, according toe certain criteria, we have certain classifications. This initial position suggests the need to differ the researches, for which reason we can talk about amateur (dilettante) research, professional (expert), scientific and quasi research. Scientific and methodology literature clarifies these elements of classification, except the quasi research, which itself indicates the results and therefore there is no need to clarify anything here. Yet, relevant lack of scientific and methodological education, and ignorance of theory of matter – subject, linked with no conscientiousness and irresponsibility, some personal, primarily financial interest, and daily politics contribute to the research results and with a good media campaign, targeting special groups of recipients, produce detrimental consequences. It is known that the development of modern society and state, in all the areas of social life, development, and progress, cannot be imagined without scientific research and knowledge, which is secured through the research, help of subjects of state and state per se, needed to find solutions for the societal problems and its planning, programming and developing. The quasi researchers misuse the difficult and complex social and economic situation, being often directed from various, not always identified centers of interests, powers, and influence, whose names, status, positions, and interests are used for the so-called researches, while their results worry and create among the population the atmosphere of uncertainty, fear, and purpose of living in a certain territory. This is particularly characteristic for those territories populated with citizens of Islamic religion (obvious examples are: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sandžak – Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, …). It can easily be noted that scientists and scholars, even the renowned methodologists, almost never talk about quasi research, they comment other elements of classification and provide arguments, explanations about them indicting their functionality and meaning. Thus, it is necessary to make a difference between the research and scientific research, which through the scientific procedure along with the application of scientific methods ensure scientifically truthful knowledge and scientific truth. Following this principle, the knowledge secured by scientific research has the force of scientific knowledge. The knowledge can also be reached outside the scientific research, and still be truthful and precise, but it does not have the status of scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge is acquired in a planned, systematic, purposeful manner and it is so presented (classified), and as such it serves as a basis for the education of students and future scholars in various places, times, at various levels, so that it ensures one of the highest universal human values – knowledge as a requirement and condition for human actions. This paper has already pointed out at the requirements and the need to establish and develop a separate and independent science of genocide, and it discussed the subject of science, which is scientifically learned by the application of methods in science, which (as important constituent factor)encompasses all the methods of research in a functional and defined order. All the scholars know well that the most general method of research is scientific research, understood as a process and procedure which takes place in certain stages and phases and encompasses (depending on type of research) almost all the methods of research. The science of genocide as a separate and independent science has the subject and method of science and it possesses its unique and specific scientific language, which uses the category and other derived terms and notions, with strictly defined meaning, which we use in the process of getting knowledge and process of presentation of scientific knowledge to the scientific and general public. Therefore, the scientific knowledge verifies the existing knowledge and expands the current scientific knowledge and acquires new knowledge about the subject and method of science. Considering the fact that we talk about the emerging and development of the science of genocide, as a complex and developing science, within which specific scientific disciplines can be detected and identified, the crucial contents of the subject and method in all its relevant dimensions and aspects of the subject of science and research belong to social sciences, which does not exclude separate scientific disciplines – natural, psychological, even technical about certain segmented and elementary factors of the subject of science of genocide, whose knowledge and results are used by separate and independent social science of genocide, whereas the genocide is a social phenomenon. Genocide as the most complex form of crimes against humanity and international law has been, as it was previously stated, and empiric phenomenon of social reality, which is determined primarily by the type of scientific and empiric research, whose relevant component is project of scientific research as a scientific and operative document, and scientific, theoretical and methodological basis for planning, organization, and execution of  scientific research, accompanied by designing of report on the research and the results of the scientific research. Unfortunately, ample empiric scientific researches were organized and executed without the project of scientific research or it was significantly reduced and limited to a production of instrument of research, which obtains, sorts and analyzes the data and then produces the report on research, which is a high degree of improvisation in scientific research, not recommended to conscientious and responsible researchers. Scientific knowledge obtained through scientific research of genocide and other forms of crimes against humanity and international law, in addition to scientific contribution, acts directly in building, maintaining and development of peace, freedoms and rights, solidarity – in one word all the declared principles and values in the highest ranking documents of the United Nations, whose recognition and building into the foundations of human society secures the development of better and fair world, the ideal of the modern civilization and culture.