Genocides and Politicides events 1955-2002

Presented below are 39 historical cases of genocide between 1955 and 2002. Originally published by Barbara Harff in the American Political Science Review, February 2003.

(See full article and datasets used in the study at the bottom of this page)

Country Month Begins Year Begins Month Ends Year Ends Brief Description of the Event
Afghanistan 4 1978 4 1992 Communist coup results in political purges of ruling circles followed
by Soviet invasion. Widespread Mujahedeen rural insurgency provokes Soviet
and Afghan government tactics of systematic terror, destruction of villages,
and execution of prisoners.
Algeria 7 1962 12 1962 In the wake of independence from France, Algerian militants attack Europeans
and Muslim civilians who collaborated with French colonial authorities.
Angola 11 1975 11 1994 Both National Union for the Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels and
Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) led government forces
perpetrate destructive campaigns and atrocities against civilians. International
attempts to reconcile the contending forces result in a cessation of genocidal
tactics following the Lusaka Protocol in November 1994.
Angola 12 1998 3 2002 Reconciliation between UNITA fighters and government forces breaks down
in December 1998 and civil war resumes. Contending forces target civilian
populations in their attempts to gain tactical advantages. Following the
death of UNITA's leader, Jonas Savimbi, in February 2002 and warring parties
reached a peace agreement in March 2002 that effectively ended the fighting.
Argentina 3 1976 12 1980 Military stages coup and declares state of siege. Death squads target
subversives for disappearances, kidnappings, torture, and murder.
Bosnia 5 1992 11 1995 Muslim residents of Bosnia are subject to "ethnic cleansing" measures
including destruction of property, forced resettlement, execution, and
massacres by Serb and Croat forces seeking union with Serbia and Croatia.
Myanmar (Burma) 1 1978 12 1978 To secure border region, regular military units supported by militant
Buddhist elements depopulate Arakanese Muslim communities in Western Burma
by oppression, destruction, torture, and murder.
Burundi 10 1965 12 1973 Attempted coup by Hutu units in 1965 results in massacres of Tutsis
countryside. Ruling Tutsis respond by unleashing Tutsi-dominated Army
to destroy Hutu leaders. In 1972, militant Hutus massacre Tutsis, Tutsi
regime responds with massive killings.
Burundi 8 1988 8 1988 As a result of disorganized rural violence against local Tutsi officials,
Tutsi-dominated army massacres Hutus.
Burundi 10 1993 12 1993 Disaffected Tutsi military forces revolt, assassinating Hutu president.
Armed clashes and massacres occur in three waves: Tutsi soldiers against
Hutu civilians, Hutus against Tutsis, and Tutsi against Hutus.
Cambodia 4 1975 1 1979 Khmer Rouge initiate restructuring of society with massive deaths by
starvation, deprivation, executions, and massacres of supporters of the
old regime, city dwellers, and ethnic and religious minorities (particularly
Muslim Chams).
Chile 9 1973 12 1976 In wake of military coup, supporters of former regime and other leftists
are arrested, tortured, disappeared, exiled, and summarily executed.
China 3 1959 12 1959 Army and security forces suppress counter-revolutionary elements of
society, including Tibetan Buddhists, landowners, and supporters of former
Chiang Kai-shek regime.
China 5 1966 3 1975 With support of military and with the consent of the Party faction,
Red Guard youth gangs target a wide spectrum of society for arrest, harassment,
reeducation, torture, and execution.
Congo-Kinshasa 2 1964 1 1965 To consolidate control, rebels massacre counter-revolutionaries, including
educated Congolese, missionaries, and other Europeans.
Congo-Kinshasa 3 1977 12 1979 Episodic rebellions and agitation are countered by killings of political
opponents, dissident tribesmen, and prisoners.
El Salvador 1 1980 12 1989 In the face of widespread insurgency, military, security units, and
death squads kill, imprison, and harass suspected leftists among clergy,
peasants, urban workers, and intellectuals.
Equatorial Guinea 3 1969 8 1979 Equatorial Guinea gained independence from Spain on October 12, 1968.
In an attempt to consolidate power following his victory in the country's
first presidential election (September 1968), President Macias pressures
Spanish residents to abandon control of the economy in February 1969.
The ensuing crisis triggers an unsuccessful coup attempt, which triggers
a violent and sustained crackdown on all political oppositon, including
ethnic-Bubi separatists on the island of Fernando Po (now known as Bioko).
State terror ends with a successful coup led by Macias' nephew in August
Ethiopia 7 1976 12 1979 Army, internal security units, and civilian defense squads massacre
political and military elites, workers, students, bureaucrats, and others
though to oppose the revolutionary regime.
Guatemala 7 1978 12 1990 Military-dominated governments initiate series of anti-subversive anti-guerrilla
campaigns with indiscriminate use of death squads against suspected leftists
and indigenous Mayans. Killings become systematic and widespread after
July 1978.
Indonesia 10 1965 7 1966 After attempted Communist coup, Muslim vigilantes massacre Party members
and ethnic Chinese. After government formally bans Party; military eliminates
suspected Communists and sympathizers.
Indonesia 12 1975 7 1992 Indonesian backed coup plunges East Timor into civil war followed by
Indonesian invasion. Resisting Timorese are killed in massacres and famine.
Iran 6 1981 12 1992 To consolidate Islamic revolution, government violently suppresses dissident
Muslims (Mujahedeen) and rebel Kurds and selectively executes prominent
Iraq 6 1963 3 1975 To suppress repeated rebellions for independent Kurdistan in northern
Iraq, government engages in large-scale massacres.
Iraq 3 1988 6 1991 Military and security forces launch Al-Anfal campaign of indiscriminate
destruction across Iraqi Kurdistan to neutralize Kurdish guerrillas. Measures
include gassing, massacres, disappearances, forced resettlement, and demolition
of villages.
Pakistan 3 1971 12 1971 General strikes by Bengali nationalists are met with martial law. Military
deploys in force with tanks, airpower, and artillery and indiscriminately
attacks civilians.
Pakistan 2 1973 7 1977 Baluchi rebellion suppressed by military using indiscriminate violence
against civilians.
Philippines 9 1972 6 1976 Moro resistance to government-sponsored Christian settlement and support
of guerrillas fighting for autonomy results in military and paramilitary
terror tactics in which many Moros are killed in massacres and napalm
Rwanda 12 1963 6 1964 Local Hutu officials orchestrate vengeance attacks against Tutsis following
cross-border incursions by Tutsi rebels.
Rwanda 4 1994 7 1994 RPF insurgency leads to full scale civil war. Hutu dominated government
deploys military and armed gangs to systematically slaughter primarily
Tutsis but also Hutu moderates.
Somalia 5 1988 1 1991 Rebellion in the north by Somali National Movement leads to indiscriminant
government anti-insurgency operations, causing many civilian deaths (particularly
among Issaq clan). Actions lead to wider war that topples the Siad Barre
regime in 1991.
Sri Lanka 7 1989 1 1990 Revolutionary campaign by Marxist Sinhalese JVP prompts government to
unleash military and police death squads. Killings of JVP leaders, supporters,
and poor Sinhalese youth in rural areas eliminates JVP.
Sudan 10 1956 3 1972 Government dominated by northern Muslim-Arabs uses indiscriminate violence
to suppress mostly non-Muslim Africans who support a secessionist movement
in the south.
Sudan 9 1983 10 2002 Government dominated by northern Muslim-Arab targets secessionist non-Muslim
southerners and Nuba for destruction by indiscriminate military attacks,
massacres by government-supported tribal militias, and government-induced
privation and population displacement. Following the signing of the Machakos
Protocol in July 2002 which signaled the beginning of an effective peace
process, the warring parties signed a memorandum of understanding in October
2002 to permit unfettered humanitarian access to affected populations.
Syria 4 1981 2 1982 Government military and security forces crush revolt by Muslim Brotherhood
centered in cities of Hama and Aleppo.
Uganda 2 1971 4 1979 After General Amin seizes power, he systematically exterminates political
opponents and personal enemies. Tribes closely associated with his predecessor
also are targeted for destruction. Amin's regime is ousted by Tanzanian
invasion in April 1979.
Uganda 12 1980 1 1986 After Amin is overthrown, former Prime Minister Obote takes control
of government. Political and tribal rivals of Obote are targeted by army
and armed bands; groups targeted include West Nile supporters of Amin
and Bagandan supporters of rebel leader Musaveni.
South Vietnam 1 1965 4 1975 Government military and paramilitary forces engage in killings, reprisals,
and bombardments against villagers supporting Viet Cong.
Yugoslavia 2 1998 6 1999 Serb militias backed by Yugoslavian armed forces target ethnic-Albanians
to counter insurgency and cleanse Kosovo of Albanians. Targeting ends
with Yugoslavia's withdrawal in June 1999 following NATO air attacks.

File Barabara Harff. 2003. "No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust - Assessing Risks of Genocide and Political Mass Murder since 1955". American Political Science Review 97.1 (Feb 2003) 57-7317/12/08 4:41 pm176.38 KB
File Annual Data on cases of Genocide and Politicide 1955-2006.xls
Compiled by Barbara Harff for the U. S. Government's State Failure Task Force.
19/01/09 10:51 am65.5 KB
File Coding guidelines for the GENPOL data set.doc19/01/09 10:52 am145 KB
File Genocide and Politicide Model Data (Phase III: 1955-1999).
Genocide and Politicide Model Data (Phase III: 1955-1999). Selected variables used in model estimates. Data compiled under the auspices of the State Failure Task Force. McLean, VA: Science Applications International Corporation. Note: Copyright permissions have been obtained from the original source for each of the variables comprising the select data provided below.
19/01/09 11:02 am15.89 KB
File Model Data - SAS version.sd719/01/09 10:55 am1021 KB
File Model Data - SPSS version.19/01/09 10:58 am1.38 MB
File Model Data - Stata version 6.dta19/01/09 11:00 am1.29 MB