By Odimegwu Onwumere
Genocide is a product of premeditated thought, mostly caused by spiteful comment against a person, gender, religion, sexual course, country, state, local council, village town and so forth, extremely fuelled by political undertone.
Such a comment is malicious and known as Hate Speech. A speech like that has led countries into wars against the other and ethnic groups against the other. However, countries and groups are not sleeping on their oars watching this swell. The concern on the use of inflammatory language moved a group like the Museum’s Center for the Prevention of Genocide for a discussion among specialists on February 5, 2013.
Its disclosure was to map out ways to docile the use of language that incites people to genocidal missions, where the rights of speech of people would not be infringed upon. This concerns the United Nations so much that it has an arm in its Commissions known as Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, with the likes of Adama Dieng as Special Advisor.
The world has been into in-depth research to diagram out overpowering ways to implement laws against speech that leads to harm from the right of speech. It frowns that many targeted populations are called obnoxious names like ‘beasts’ or ‘asshole’ as a way of violence against them, of which has most times backfired leading to genocide.
But while in some countries people seek redress under the civil law or criminal law when displayed with such dehumanizing speech or conduct or writing or broadcast against their race, religion, gender, sexual direction… others take to violence. One place where the world is skeptical about is the Internet which is often used by persons to incite comments leading to genocide, because the use of speech in the Internet is not regulated.
This portal is mostly used by political critics or politicians against the other in order to mislead the unsuspecting public so that their post would sound politically, economically and socially correct against their prey. In an investigation conducted by Karen Eltis, Loyola University Chicago School of Law 2011 Law Journal Conference, New York University law professor, Jeremy Waldron submitted the parity rights of sufferers as a countervailing curiosity to instigators’ freedom of speech, saying “The question is about the direct targets of the abuse. Can their lives be led … and their worst fears dispelled, in a social environment polluted by these materials?”
It is exactly 75 years, September 1 2014, since the beginning of World War 2. Henia Bryer is a survivour of the Holocaust of 1941 and 1945. At a home in Cape Town, Bryer told newsmen that she survived four concentration camps during the massacre of the Jews and other ethnic and political minorities by the German military.
In information with the News24Live, Bryer’s problem was not that she survived the tribulation, but that she continued to suffer from the nightmare. During that period, Adolf Hitler cited the Germans against the Jews as their real problem. Jews were assembled in concentration camps and were later burnt alive, gunned down, cremated and meted out with every forms of bestiality that exists in the world of cruelty.
Over 10 million people were sent to their early graves. This number is excluding about one million Jewish children who were felled in the bad portent. The same thing happened in Kenya in 2007 during its general elections in which over 1, 400 persons were killed aftermath of the elections. Kenyans who casted their votes peacefully, did not expect any forms of chaos, let alone, the one that took many lives, but for hate speech.
Their ethnic uprising started when the Kenyan electoral commission announced that there was a technical problem with its electronic vote-counting scheme. This sent jittery into the spines of the people that a section had lacerated into the machine to cause irregularities in the counting process, hence genocide. The International Criminal Court, ICC, later arraigned a Kenyan radio broadcaster for transmissions foregoing the post-election violence of 2007-2008 in Kenya.
The same were the fates of Rwandans and Bosnians in the mid-1990s, when they experienced genocide and war respectively. It was after the genocides in Rwanda that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda recorded the first “incitement to genocide” case in the world, leading to the conviction of radio broadcasters, a newspaper editor, and even a pop star for the misdemeanor. The ICC in 1995 criminalized Jean-Paul Akayesu, a former Rwandan bourgmestre (otherwise known as mayor) for provocation to genocide. It was believed that Akayesu gave a speech that was instantaneously pursued by mass murders.
Many groups and organizations like the MacArthur Foundation, the US Institute of Peace, the International Criminal Tribunal, the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, African Media Leaders, Media Initiative Against Hate Speech, and so many other groups are doing wonders to impede the use of hate speech and genocide as methods of expressing anger. A much more severe consequence of hate speech which is genocide can be averted if people use less harmful statements that are not believable, dishonourable or undetected by the population. Genocidal crimes and violence should be prevented and the trouble of methodical encouragement to hatred prevented.
Government at all levels should make-illegal such acts, cruel, logical, and state-arranged hate misinformation under international law. Authorities should treat organized incitement to hatred as a form of harassment, as was upheld by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which was also experienced in Kenya, but while also regarding the significant precise to freedom of speech.
Odimegwu Onwumere writes from Rivers State. Tel: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org