Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Historical & Political Studies; College of Arts & Sciences

First Advisor

Geoffrey Haywood

Abstract

Despite their commitment to international peace and security and to the concept of “never again,” the United Nations has failed to end the many genocides of the late 20th century. In this thesis, I use the genocides in Rwanda (1994) and in the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1999) as case studies to understand the UN’s response to genocide and to attempt to understand why the UN cannot effectively respond to and end genocide. I discover that issues such as the limitations of the Genocide Convention, the importance of state sovereignty, and overall institutional failures of the United Nation make any attempt to end genocide doomed. I end the discussion by examining ways the UN has attempted to fix these inadequacies, but ultimately come to the conclusion that their attempts have been futile and have allowed for genocides to continue into the twenty-first century, using the case studies of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in China. Throughout this paper, I use a number of sources to develop my answer. Primary sources include sources such as eye-witness interviews, UN released reports, independent fact finding research, UN documents such as the UN Charter and Genocide Convention, and documents from the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda (ICTR) and in Yugoslavia (ICTY). My secondary sources come from scholarly articles and books, newspaper articles, articles issued by think tanks, and museum resources.

COinS
 

Never Again? The United Nations and Genocide: A Doomed Mission?

Despite their commitment to international peace and security and to the concept of “never again,” the United Nations has failed to end the many genocides of the late 20th century. In this thesis, I use the genocides in Rwanda (1994) and in the Yugoslav Wars (1991-1999) as case studies to understand the UN’s response to genocide and to attempt to understand why the UN cannot effectively respond to and end genocide. I discover that issues such as the limitations of the Genocide Convention, the importance of state sovereignty, and overall institutional failures of the United Nation make any attempt to end genocide doomed. I end the discussion by examining ways the UN has attempted to fix these inadequacies, but ultimately come to the conclusion that their attempts have been futile and have allowed for genocides to continue into the twenty-first century, using the case studies of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Uyghurs in China. Throughout this paper, I use a number of sources to develop my answer. Primary sources include sources such as eye-witness interviews, UN released reports, independent fact finding research, UN documents such as the UN Charter and Genocide Convention, and documents from the International Criminal Tribunal in Rwanda (ICTR) and in Yugoslavia (ICTY). My secondary sources come from scholarly articles and books, newspaper articles, articles issued by think tanks, and museum resources.