Conducted on an ongoing basis, the information we gather on our internal tool Threatwiki is primarily event-based and and come from media and NGO reports, correspondents on the ground, and contacts with target communities themselves. Information gathered by our analysts help us to gauge how far the genocidal process has progressed, identify trends and patterns, who the main actors are, establish whether genocidal intent is present, and may inform operational prevention methods.
We use a model adapted from Gregory Stanton’s 8 Stages of Genocide to categorize in 9 different stages the events we monitor for our situation of concerns. Because many of these definitions overlap, the Sentinel Project has developed standards based on the need for discrete, understandable definitions that can be replicated across multiple situation of concerns (SOC) monitoring efforts.
Systematic prejudicial treatment of people based on their membership in a particular communal group (i.e. the target group) in a way that is worse than the treatment given to members of the majority or non-targeted groups. This places target group members in a position where they are seen as undesirable members of society who are undeserving of equal treatment, thus setting them up to be dehumanized, though they may not yet generally be viewed as non-human or sub-human. In practical terms, discrimination serves to limit the life opportunities of target group members and transforms them into second-class citizens. Discrimination may be either official, as the result of formal state policies, or unofficial, as a result of commonly held attitudes in a given society.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Discrimination include:
Symbolization is a process where symbols are used to identify others, often based on their physical characteristics. This ranges from the use of derogatory language to, on the extreme end, forcing individuals to wear physical markers to identify their race or group membership. Examples of this included the gold star used by the Nazis to mark people of Jewish origin and the blue scarves used by the Khmer Rouge to mark people from the Eastern Zone.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Symbolization include:
Dehumanization is the Denial of the humanity of a group. Individuals from a group are identified as subhuman or nonhumans. They are often referred to as “animals, vermin, insects, or diseases.” The process of Dehumanization portrays group members as innately threatening to society, meaning that they are threatening solely because they are members of the group (not due to their political or social associations or activities). As a result of Dehumanization, crimes and attacks against members of the group are allowed to occur with impunity; they are ignored by authorities such as the police and courts
Examples of events that would be tagged as Dehumanization include:
Organization refers to the process, by the perpetrators, of planning and developing resources to commit genocide. This includes the creation of militias, informal paramilitary groups, concentration camps, and mechanisms intended for the purpose of Extermination. To distinguish Organization from Preparation, the focus is on resources controlled by the perpetrator, rather than actions meant to directly affect members of the target group.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Organization include:
Polarization refers to political or violent acts meant to create divisions in the society. Members of different groups are discouraged from normal social interactions, and members of certain ethnic or religious groups are denied the right to participate in society, often by denying them the right to attend school or join associations such as labour unions. Group members are blamed for terrorist attacks or terrorist attacks are committed to create divisions between sectarian groups. In some contexts, moderates are removed from political positions by force or procedural methods.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Polarization include:
Preparation refers to actions taken by the perpetrators to prepare a target group for Extermination. The goal of Preparation is to identify members of the target group and reduce the target group’s ability to resist through disruptions such as arrest, detainment, forced migration, or exile.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Preparation include:
The Persecution stage focuses on how the perpetrators of genocidal violence target and prepare their victims. It occurs through systematic treatment of individuals who are members of the target group to cause physical or mental pain and suffering. This cruel, persistent, and widespread treatment is generally intended to weaken the target group and place its members in a vulnerable position. This makes them less able to resist future abuses and eventual extermination.
Especially during early stages, persecution measures may target elite members of the target group, such as formal leaders, clergy, intellectuals, and business owners.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Persecution include:
Extermination refers to the actions which are meant to eliminate a target group through mass killings or other methods, such as forced sterilization or rape.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Extermination include:
Denial refers to statements or actions taken by the perpetrators to deny or dismiss the occurrence of genocide. Government or military officials deny genocide based on legal or semantic grounds. They will claim that casualties are insufficient to be called genocide or point to casualties from their own group. They will blame civil wars and other conflicts for the killings and deny that they were deliberately planned. Perpetrators of genocide may also deny the existence of discrimination or unfair treatment.
When looking for instances of Denial, it is important to remember the UN Genocide Convention defines genocide as “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.” Acts of genocide may be targeted at only one class or sub-set of the group.
Examples of events that would be tagged as Denial include:
Datapoints are given the general tag if they describe events that are outside the scope of the Operational Process model but provide significant context to the events occurring in an SOC.
Examples of events that would be tagged as general include: