John Ciorciari in The Economist, "When does a massacre become a genocide?"

September 17, 2010

John Ciorciari was quoted in The Economist in an article about the second trial of the United Nations-backed tribunal against Khmer Rouge leaders. Four former leaders—Nuon Chea, Khieu Samphan, Ieng Sary, and Ieng Thirith—will face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide at a trial set to begin next year. The court's decision to charge these leaders with genocide, a term with a grave and narrow legal definition, has sparked some debate.

"Genocide" is increasingly being used as a generic label for all the world's most serious mass crimes, Ciorciari explained to The Economist. "As a result, the absence of the term 'genocide' can be interpreted by survivors as meaning they didn't suffer as much as others." Ciorciari continued, "To the extent that genocide is distinct from war crimes and crimes against humanity, it’s productive to consider this specific charge."

Ciorciari has been interviewed by a number of news sources about first and second trials of the United Nations-backed tribunal against former Khmer Rouge leaders. Watch Ciorciari’s U-M vodcast or click the links below for more information.