Roots of Ethnic Conflicts: Mechanisms and Motivations

in The Triumph of Ethnic Hatred and the Failure of International Political Will: Gendered Violence and Genocide in the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, 2010

43 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2015

See all articles by Hilmi Zawati

Hilmi Zawati

Centre for International Accountability and Justice (CIAJ).

Date Written: November 12, 2010

Abstract

Since the beginning of the twentieth century, humanity has experienced the worst atrocities ever to have occurred in the known history of mankind. Mass hatred, antagonism, racism, and religious prejudice were the primary mechanisms that led to two fierce world wars and to ethnic cleansing and genocide in many countries, including the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Ethnic hatred drove the wars’ masterminds to apply wartime rape as a weapon of psychological mass destruction to an unprecedented degree. Although wars were, and still are, a common arena for rape and other sexual assaults, wartime rape in the former Yugoslavia, particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Kosovo, functioned as the Serbs’ most effective tool of ethnic cleansing. This horrifying sexual humiliation, inflicted on Bosnian and Kosovar women and girls ranging in age from six to eighty years, played a major role in the displacement of at least 1.2 million refugees within the borders of the country, 400,000 of whom were not allowed to go back to their homes even after the Dayton Accords.

This chapter exposes the roots of ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and examines its mechanisms and motivations. It explores the ancient hatred that lies at the root of ethnic division in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the role of colonialism in the ethnic disintegration and devastation of the Rwandan people. Moreover, it analyses the media’s role in propagating hatred, clashing myths, and repressing the truth. Finally, it looks into the case law of the international criminal tribunals and examines the position of international criminal law on prosecuting hate propaganda.

Keywords: Ethnic Hatred; Ethnic Cleansing; Ethnic Conflict; Antagonism; Racism; Religious Prejudice; Genocide; Former Yugoslavia; Rwanda; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Croatia; Kosovo; Hilmi Zawati.

Suggested Citation

Zawati, Hilmi, Roots of Ethnic Conflicts: Mechanisms and Motivations (November 12, 2010). in The Triumph of Ethnic Hatred and the Failure of International Political Will: Gendered Violence and Genocide in the Former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2690015

Hilmi Zawati (Contact Author)

Centre for International Accountability and Justice (CIAJ). ( email )

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