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Darfur and the Crime of Genocide

  • Publication: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

2009, John Hagan, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Studies in Law and Society

Cover of Darfur and the Crime of Genocide

Hagan, John and Wenona Rymond-Richmond. Darfur and the Crime of Genocide. Cambridge University Press; New York, NY; 2008.

Darfur and the Crime of Genocide

In 2004, the State Department gathered more than a thousand interviews from refugees in Chad that verified Colin Powell’s U.N. and congressional testimonies about the Darfur genocide. The survey cost nearly a million dollars to conduct and yet it languished in the archives as the killing continued, claiming hundreds of thousands of murder and rape victims and restricting several million survivors to camps. This book for the first time fully examines that survey and its heartbreaking accounts. It documents the Sudanese government’s enlistment of Arab Janjaweed militias in destroying black African communities. The central questions are: Why is the United States so ambivalent to genocide? Why do so many scholars deemphasize racial aspects of genocide? How can the science of criminology advance understanding and protection against genocide? This book gives a vivid firsthand account and voice to the survivors of genocide in Darfur.


“To read these pages is to hear the voices of survivors who painstakingly recount the killings, rapes and harrowing devastation in Darfur. The authors use eyewitness reports from more than a thousand State Department interviews to document and analyze the on-going atrocities and the reasons so shamefully little has been done to address this terrible episode in human destruction. In the face of genocide, the ultimate crime, this powerful and insightful book offers valuable lessons - lessons I hope we will learn from - not only for the victims of the Darfur genocide, but for the victims of future genocides, and for our own essential selves.”
--Mia Farrow, UNICEF and Dream for Darfur

"Why has the field of criminology ignored genocide for so long? The answer to this question has important implications for theories of crime and international policy alike. The terrible tragedy in Darfur serves as the motivation for Hagan and Rymond-Richmond to trace the intellectual history of competing approaches to genocide, from the pioneering work of Sheldon Glueck on Nazi war crimes to controversies over official reaction to atrocities in the former Yugoslavia and now Africa. A call to action, Darfur and the Crime of Genocide is disturbing but necessary reading for all those concerned with international justice and a more general criminological conception of collective responses to crime around the world."
--Robert J. Sampson, Harvard University, Henry Ford II Professor of Sociology

“This is a remarkable book and an urgently important one. Bringing together a close review of the empirical evidence and a creative use of criminological concepts, the authors assemble a compelling argument that the events in Darfur amount to an intentional, racialized, state-supported, act of genocide. In doing so, The Crime of Genocide presents a criminological case for the prosecution that will be hard to ignore. But that’s not all. Hagan and Rymond-Richmond also argue that the discipline of criminology must begin to address crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity – the collective crimes that increasingly define our time but do not yet shape our research. Sixty years ago, Edwin Sutherland transformed criminology with his argument for the inclusion of “white collar crimes.” The ambition of this book is to expand the criminological imagination once more and to demonstrate what such an undertaking would look like. The Crime of Genocide succeeds on all these counts. It makes a powerful case that the mass killings, rapes and expropriations taking place in Darfur have the actus reus and mens rea of genocidal crimes. It demonstrates that criminology can explain the social mechanisms that drove these collective events. It contributes to public awareness of these crimes and their causes. And it provides crucially relevant evidence for the political and legal processes designed to allocate responsibility, restore peace and prevent the recurrence of such atrocious criminal activities.”
--David Garland, New York University, Vanderbilt Professor of Law, Author of The Culture of Control



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