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Connecting People and Ideas for Integrated Development

SUNY/CID Senior Associate Participates in Conference on Genocide at Cardozo Law School in New York City


Dr. Mark Baskin participated in a conference, "Denying Genocide: Law, Identity & Historical Memory in the Face of Mass Atrocity" at Benjamin N. Cardozo Law School's Program on the Holocaust and Human Rights Studies on December 4, 2006. The conference addressed the dilemma that although it has become axiomatic for societies that are emerging from mass atrocities to acknowledge the "truth" of what has happened through trials, truth commissions and other methods, many societies actually have gone to great lengths to deny that the atrocities have taken place. Such denial has been central in the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust, Rwanda, Sudan, and the Balkans. There were panels on defining denial, comparing cases of denial, the relationship between free speech and denial, and denial, history and education.

From his long experience with the United Nations during the Wars of Yugoslav Succession in working with organizations of families of missing people and in cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in exhuming mass graves, Dr. Baskin suggested that denial was essential to genocide. He discussed "war crimes denial" in which leaderships and ordinary people focus on the crimes against their own people while denying that their people could ever commit war crimes. He pointed to the local character of genocides that occur in particular places, and how the "international community" contributes to denial both by their failure to intervene and by their equal treatment of all parties--victims and aggressors--in these wars.

Dr. Baskin is Senior Associate for Academic Affairs and Research at SUNY/CID and Research Professor of Political Science at Rockefeller College at the University at Albany.

View All SUNY/CID News Stories from 2006