Gregory Stanton

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Gregory H. Stanton is the former research professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at the George Mason University in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. He is best known for his work in the area of genocide studies. He is the founder and president of Genocide Watch,[1] the founder and director of the Cambodian Genocide Project,[2][3] and the Chair of the Alliance Against Genocide. From 2007 to 2009 he was the president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.

Early life and academic background[edit]

Stanton comes from the lineage of women's suffrage activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Henry Brewster Stanton, a notable Abolitionist. He worked as a voting rights worker in Mississippi, a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Ivory Coast, and as Church World Service/CARE Field Director in Cambodia in 1980.[4][5]

Stanton was the research professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, until his retirement in 2019.[6] From 2003 to 2009 he was the James Farmer Professor in Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.[7] He has been a Law Professor at Washington and Lee University, American University, and the University of Swaziland. He has degrees from Oberlin College, Harvard Divinity School, Yale Law School, and a Doctorate in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Chicago. He was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (2001–2002).[4]


Stanton was a law professor at Washington and Lee University from 1985 to 1991, was a Fulbright Professor at the University of Swaziland, and was a professor of Justice, Law, and Society at the American University. From 2003 to 2009, he was the James Farmer Professor in Human Rights at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Stanton founded the Cambodian Genocide Project at Yale in 1981 and since then has been a driving force to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice.

Stanton was the Chair of the American Bar Association Young Lawyer's Division Committee on Human Rights and a member of the A.B.A.'s Standing Committee on World Order Under Law. Stanton was a legal advisor to Rukh, the Ukrainian independence movement (1988–1992), work for which he was named the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America's 1992 Man of the Year.

Stanton served in the State Department (1992–1999). At the State Department he drafted the United Nations Security Council resolutions that created the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Burundi Commission of Inquiry, and the Central African Arms Flow Commission. He also drafted the U.N. Peacekeeping Operations resolutions that helped bring about an end to the Mozambican civil war. In 1994, Stanton won the American Foreign Service Association's W. Averell Harriman Award[8] for "extraordinary contributions to the practice of diplomacy exemplifying intellectual courage," based on his dissent from U.S. policy on the Rwandan genocide.[9]

Stanton wrote the State Department options paper on ways to bring the Khmer Rouge to justice in Cambodia. Stanton was deeply involved in the U.N.-Cambodian government negotiations that brought about the creation of the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, for which he drafted internal rules of procedure.

Stanton is best known for his authorship of The Ten Stages of Genocide, a model of the genocidal process that the US State Department and UN have used in predicting and taking steps to prevent genocide. His Ten Stage model is used in courses on genocide in schools and colleges around the world.

In 1999 Stanton founded Genocide Watch.[10] From 1999 to 2000, he also served as co-chair of the Washington Working Group for the International Criminal Court.

In 2004, Stanton published a proposal to establish an Office for Genocide Prevention at the UN.[11] With other members of the International Campaign to End Genocide, he met with UN officials to lobby for the proposal. In 2004 in Stockholm, Secretary General Kofi Annan announced the creation of the Office of the UN Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide.[12]

In 2007, Stanton was elected President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, to serve until 2009.[13] He served as First Vice President of the Association from 2005 to 2007. In 2013, the organization gave Stanton its Distinguished Service Award and made him a Life Member.[14]


In 1989, after leading a genocide prevention training program for officials from Rwanda and surrounding countries, Stanton met with President Juvenal Habyarimana to ask him to remove ethnic identities from the Rwandan national identification cards because the ID cards could be used to identify people to be killed in a genocide.[15] The Rwandan genocide of Tutsis occurred in 1994.


In 2010, Stanton demanded that Robert Mugabe be prosecuted for the crime of genocide. He proposed a "Mixed UN-Zimbabwean Criminal Tribunal" inspired by the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, adding, "Mugabe's reign of terror must end."[16]

In 2012, Stanton called for the United States to release "all diplomatic and intelligence cables relating to the Gukurahundi massacres" of Zimbabwe and to explain the U.S. decision "to remain silent", in order to "clear its conscience".[17]


Stanton has accused Iran – particularly Mahmoud Ahmadinejad – of incitement to genocide, explaining that the constant calls by the Iranian regime to destroy Israel directly advocate genocide.[18][19] Stanton referenced speeches by Ahmadinejad calling for the destruction of Israel and advocating that Israeli Jews should be transferred to Germany and Austria. He described the proposal as incitement to genocide and advocacy of forced population transfer.[20] Stanton wrote:

Iran is the only country since Nazi Germany that has openly expressed its genocidal intent to wipe another nation off the map while pursuing a program to develop nuclear weapons. Few believed that Hitler was serious about his genocidal intentions until Nazis carried out the Holocaust. The Iranian President denies that the Holocaust even happened.

Stanton congratulated Angela Merkel for opposing Iran's nuclear program, and also praised Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs for recalling the Canadian Ambassador to Iran.

Stanton has condemned Iran's nuclear program, adding that NATO should protect Israel to safeguard the country from a possible nuclear missile strike.[19][20]


In an article for the Mail and Guardian, Stanton acknowledged the Isaaq genocide that occurred in the Democratic Republic of Somalia under Siad Barre. He advocated for the recognition of Somaliland as a separate state from Somalia, arguing it could "help stave off conflict in a region that has suffered terribly."[21]

Genocide Watch[edit]

In 1999 Stanton founded Genocide Watch,[10] a non-governmental organization campaigning against genocide based in Washington, D.C.[22][23] Genocide Watch is the chair and coordinator of the Alliance Against Genocide, which includes 100 organizations in 24 countries, including the Minority Rights Group, the International Crisis Group, the Aegis Trust, and Survival International.[24] Its board of advisers includes former commander of United Nations peacekeeping forces in Rwanda Roméo Dallaire, former Nuremberg Prosecutor Benjamin Ferencz, former US Ambassador to the United Nations and current Administer of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power,[25][26] and former UN Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng.

In 2010, Genocide Watch was the first[27] organization to assert that the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres in Zimbabwe met the definition of genocide, calling for the prosecution of Zimbabwean leaders including president Robert Mugabe.[28][29][30] Genocide Watch has also indicated numerous times that the Armenians are at risk of genocide due to Azerbaijan's unprovoked assault on Armenia (2022) and its blockade and offensive of Artsakh (2022–2023).[31][32]

Stanton has formed alliances with dozens of human rights leaders, such as Baroness Kennedy and Ewelina Ochab from the Coalition for Genocide Response.[33] In 2020, Genocide Watch joined other human rights groups urging the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the actions of the Chinese government regarding Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region, and "develop strategies" to end violations that would amount to acts of genocide.[34] In the case of Bosco Ntaganda within the International Criminal Court investigation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Genocide Watch submitted amicus curiae observations[35] along with the Antiquities Coalition and Blue Shield International, on the interpretation of attacks on cultural property in the Rome Statute.[36]

Stanton has criticized the term "ethnic cleansing", calling it a term invented by Slobodan Milošević as a term used for the denial and cover-up of genocide, stating it whitewashes the crimes and impedes forceful action to stop genocide.[37]




  1. ^ Genocide Watch
  2. ^ "A Quest for Justice" Archived 16 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Washington and Lee Alumni Magazine, September–October 1987.
  3. ^ "His Brother's Keeper" Archived 14 September 2017 at the Wayback Machine, Student Lawyer (American Bar Association), Vol. 11, No. 6, February 1983, pp. 23-34.
  4. ^ a b "Biography, University of Mary Washington". Archived from the original on 3 May 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  5. ^ "The Call". Genocide Watch. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  6. ^ Biography Archived 2 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine at George Mason University website.
  7. ^ "Stanton Leaves After Six Years As Professor of Human Rights". University of Mary Washington. 9 April 2009. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  8. ^ "Previous Recipients". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  9. ^ Beaubien, Jason (20 December 2018). "Is Genocide Predictable? Researchers Say Absolutely". NPR. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  10. ^ a b "Gregory Stanton". Genocide Watch. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  11. ^ "Genocide Watch". Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  12. ^ United Nations. "United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect". Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  13. ^ "Past Boards | International Association of Genocide Scholars". 9 December 1948. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  14. ^ "IAGS Award Winners | International Association of Genocide Scholars". 9 December 1948. Archived from the original on 31 January 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  15. ^ Melvern, Linda (2004). Conspiracy to Murder - The Rwandan Genocide. London, New York: Verso. p. 61. ISBN 1-85984-588-6.
  16. ^ "Kubatana - Archive - Prosecute Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe for genocide - Genocide Watch - Sept 16, 2010". Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  17. ^ Hill, Geoff (23 September 2019). "U.S. told to come clean about knowledge of 1980s Mugabe massacres in Zimbabwe". The Washington Times. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  18. ^ Ginsburg, Mitch. "Genocides, unlike hurricanes, are predictable, says world expert. And Iran is following the pattern". Retrieved 15 June 2021.
  19. ^ a b [bare URL PDF]
  20. ^ a b [bare URL PDF]
  21. ^ "We can't ignore the worrying signs of genocide in Africa". 28 January 2016.
  22. ^ Çakmak, Cenap (2007), "Genocide Watch", Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice, Thousand Oaks, California, United States: SAGE Publications, Inc., doi:10.4135/9781412956215.n351, ISBN 978-1-4129-1812-1, retrieved 9 October 2020
  23. ^ Totten, Samuel (2017). "4. The role of Nongovernmental Organizations in Addressing the Prevention, Intervention, and Punishment of Genocide in the 1980s, 1990s, and Early 2000s". Genocide at the millennium. Totten, Samuel,, Sherman, Marc I. Abingdon, Oxon. ISBN 978-1-351-51784-3. OCLC 1013927872.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  24. ^ "ALLIANCE MEMBERS". Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Samantha Power | Biography". U.S. Agency for International Development. 12 January 2023. Retrieved 21 January 2023.
  26. ^ "Professor John Packer named to Genocide Watch Board of Advisors". Faculty of Law - Common Law Section. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  27. ^ "Guku team turns focus on Horn of Africa". The Zimbabwean. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  28. ^ "Gukurahundi noose tightens on Mugabe". The Zimbabwean. 18 September 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  29. ^ "Gukurahundi perpetrators face prosecution". NewsDay. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  30. ^ "Probe into Gukurahundi era begins". Daily News. 28 February 2019. Retrieved 10 October 2020.[permanent dead link]
  31. ^ Watch, Genocide (21 September 2023). "Genocide Alert:Artsakh surrenders to Azerbaijan". genocidewatch. Retrieved 22 January 2024. The silent genocide has become overt...Genocide Watch considers Azerbaijan to be at Stage 4: Dehumanization, Stage 5: Organization, Stage 7: Preparation, Stage 8: Persecution, and Stage 9: Extermination.
  32. ^ Hill, Nat (23 September 2022). "Genocide Warning: Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh". genocidewatch. Retrieved 22 January 2024. Genocide Watch is issuing a Genocide Warning due to Azerbaijan's unprovoked military attacks on Armenia and on the unrecognized Armenian Republic of Artsakh.
  33. ^ "StackPath". 7 November 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  34. ^ Kashgarian, Asim (17 September 2020). "Activists, Experts Call on UN to Recognize China's Uighur 'Genocide'". Voice of America. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  35. ^ "Amicus Curiae Observations Pursuant to Rule 103 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence on Behalf of the Antiquities Coalition, Blue Shield International and Genocide Watch" (PDF). ICC-01/04-02/06. International Criminal Court. 18 September 2020. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  36. ^ Karegeya, Portia (21 September 2020). "21 September 2020 - ICC AC receives amicus curiae briefs in Ntaganda case". ICL Media Review. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  37. ^ Blum, R.; Stanton, G. H.; Sagi, S.; Richter, E. D. (2007). "'Ethnic cleansing' bleaches the atrocities of genocide". The European Journal of Public Health. 18 (2): 204–209. doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckm011. PMID 17513346.

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