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Androcide is the systematic killing of men for various reasons, usually cultural. Androcide may happen during war to reduce an enemy's potential fighting capability or as retaliation.


Androcide was a common practice in ancient times. Mythological accounts of the Greek takeover of Miletus in circa 9th century BC have the legendary son of Poseidon, Neleus, leading a massacre of the men of Miletus and settling the city in the Milesian men's stead.[1] Biblical androcides include the revenge for the violation of Dinah in the Book of Genesis, in which Dinah's brothers, Simeon and Levi, killed all of the males in the city Shechem, because Shechem, the son of Hamor and prince of the land, had sexual intercourse with Dinah (it is debated whether it was rape, seduction, or other consensual intercourse) when she went to visit the women of the town.[2] Other biblical androcides were aimed at children, such as in the Book of Deuteronomy, in which the pharaoh decided that the Israelites had become too numerous so he ordered the death of all male infants,[3] or the later Massacre of the Innocents, as recounted in the Book of Matthew, in which Herod the Great ordered the death of all males under the age of two in the town of Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the prophesied "king of the Jews".[4]

The Czech village of Lidice, as part of the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, was on orders from Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler completely destroyed by German forces in reprisal for the assassination of Reich Protector Reinhard Heydrich in the late spring of 1942. On 10 June 1942, all 173 men over 16 years of age from the village were murdered.[5]

More recent examples include the 1988 Anfal campaign against Kurdish males that were considered “battle-aged” (or approximately ages 15–50)[6][7] in Iraqi Kurdistan. While many of these deaths took place after the Kurdish men were captured and processed at concentration camp, the worst instances of the androcide happened at the end of the campaign (August 25-September 6, 1988). This was launched immediately after the signing of a ceasefire with Iran, which allowed the transfer of large amounts of men and matériel from the southern battlefronts. The final Anfal focused on "the steep, narrow valleys of Badinan, a four-thousand-square mile chunk of the Zagros Mountains bounded on the east by the Great Zab and on the north by Turkey." Here, uniquely in the Anfal campaigns, lists of the "disappeared" provided to Human Rights Watch/Middle East by survivors "invariably included only adult and teenage males, with the single exception of Assyrians and Yezidi Kurds," who were subsidiary targets of the slaughter. Many of the men of Badinan did not even make it as far as "processing" stations, being simply "lined up and murdered at their point of capture, summarily executed by firing squads on the authority of a local military officer."[8]

Another recent incident of androcide was the Srebrenica massacre of approximately 8,000 Bosniak men and boys on 12 July 1995, ruled as an act of genocide by the International Court of Justice.[9][10] From the morning of 12 July, Serb forces began gathering men and boys from the refugee population in Potočari and holding them in separate locations, and as the refugees began boarding the buses headed north towards Bosniak-held territory, Serb soldiers separated out men of military age who were trying to clamber aboard. Occasionally, younger and older men were stopped as well (some as young as 14 or 15).[11][12][13] These men were taken to a building in Potočari referred to as the “White House”.

As early as 12 July 1995, Major Franken of the Dutchbat learned that no men were arriving with the women and children at their destination in Kladanj.[14] On 13 July 1995, Dutchbat troops witnessed definite signs that the Serb soldiers were murdering some of the Bosniak men who had been separated. For example, Corporal Vaasen saw two soldiers take a man behind the "White House", heard a shot and saw the two soldiers reappear alone. Another Dutchbat officer saw Serb soldiers murder an unarmed man with a single gunshot to the head and heard gunshots 20–40 times an hour throughout the afternoon. When the Dutchbat soldiers told Colonel Joseph Kingori, a United Nations Military Observer (UNMO) in the Srebrenica area, that men were being taken behind the "White House" and not coming back, Colonel Kingori went to investigate. He heard gunshots as he approached, but was stopped by Serb soldiers before he could find out what was going on.[15] Some executions were carried out at night under arc lights, and industrial bulldozers then pushed the bodies into mass graves.[16] According to evidence collected from Bosniaks by French policeman Jean-René Ruez, some were buried alive; he also heard testimony describing Serb forces killing and torturing refugees at will, streets littered with corpses, people committing suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off, and adults being forced to watch the soldiers kill their children.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ The Bible
  3. ^ The Bible
  4. ^ The Bible
  5. ^ Jan Kaplan and Krystyna Nosarzewska, Prague: The Turbulent Century p. 241
  6. ^ Whatever Happened To The Iraqi Kurds? Human Rights Watch Report, 1991
  7. ^ The Crimes of Saddam Hussein
  8. ^ Iraq's Crime of Genocide, pp. 143-45; ISBN 0-300-06427-6
  9. ^ Srebrenica Timeline
  10. ^ Serbians Still Divided Over Srebrenica Massacre
  11. ^ "Separation of boys, ICTY Potocari". 26 July 2000.
  12. ^ "Separation,ICTY Sandici".
  13. ^ "Separation,ICTY". 11 July 1995.
  14. ^ ICTY, Prosecutor vs. Kristic, Judgement
  15. ^ ICTY, Prosecutor vs. Kristic, Judgement
  16. ^ Graham Jones. Srebrenica: A Triumph of Evil, CNN 3 May 2006
  17. ^ Graham Jones. "Srebrenica: A Triumph of Evil", CNN, aired 3 May 2006.