White genocide in South Africa: the facts

Kevin_Kingby Kevin King

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In response to an article on News24, White Genocide, fact or fiction?, I’d like to separate fact from fiction.

The definition of genocide

“The international legal definition of the crime of genocide is found in Articles II and III of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

Article II describes two elements of the crime of genocide:

  1. the mental element, meaning the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”, and

  2. the physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e.  A crime must include both elements to be called “genocide.”

    1. Killing members of the group;

    2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

      1. includes inflicting trauma on members of the group through widespread torture, rape, sexual violence, forced or coerced use of drugs, and mutilation.

    3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

    4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

    5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Protected Groups

A national group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by a common country of nationality or national origin.

An ethnical group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common cultural traditions, language or heritage.

A racial group means a set of individuals whose identity is defined by physical characteristics.

A religious group is a set of individuals whose identity is defined by common religious creeds, beliefs, doctrines, practices, or rituals.

Key Terms

The crime of genocide has two elements:   intent and action.  “Intentional” means purposeful.  Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders.  But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.

Intent is different from motive.  Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.

The phrase “in whole or in part” is important.  Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group.  Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide.  Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder.  But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.”

Size does not matter

The author starts off by saying “If 70 000 whites were murdered by blacks since 1994, it could have indeed been close to a genocide”.  He then goes on to dispute this number, however size is irrelevant.

According to the definition of genocide, “an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group [or part of a group]”

Intention to commit genocide

The definition clearly states that there are two ways to prove intent:   “from statements or orders” or “inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts”.

The question of whether there is a presence of a systematic pattern of coordinated acts to commit genocide is highly debatable and difficult to prove.  Perpetrators of genocide are more likely to commit this crime covertly.  In a country like South Africa, the most violent country on earth, it is easy to hide the intent of committing genocide, xenophobia and homophobia under the cover of normal crime because of our high crime rates.  And if a genocidal plan was proven without a shadow of a doubt, the country would surely and immediately enter a stage of civil war and the economy would collapse, something which the perpetrators would strive to avoid.

On the other hand, proving intent from statement or orders is far less debatable.  High-ranking public officials making statements like “Kill the Boer”, “Shoot the Boer” or “One Bullet, One Farmer” can easily be interpreted as an order to commit genocide.  “Shoot the Boer” was found by the courts to be hate speech.  Hate speech incites violence.  According to the international definition of genocide:

“Article III:  The following acts shall be punishable:

  1. Genocide;

  2. Conspiracy to commit genocide;

  3. Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;

  4. Attempt to commit genocide;

  5. Complicity in genocide. “

Firstly, put your objective hat on.  Now consider the following:  A public figure making a public statement to “Shoot the Boer” or “Kill the Boer” sounds very much like a direct and public incitement to commit genocide.  You don’t need to commit genocide to be guilty of genocide and punishable under the 1948 convention.  But, however factual my findings are or no matter how much sense it makes, I’m a million percent sure that I will get responses like:   “That song is a cultural thing”, “Nobody takes these people seriously”, “Those phrases are misunderstood.” etc.  Hypothetically, let’s say you are right and these statements were not deliberately made to incite genocide and there is no organised plan to commit genocide.   Let’s go back to the definition of genocide:

“an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group”

It only takes ONE individual to kill ONE person, if that individual knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the people.  That means that if only ONE individual interprets a statement like “Shoot the Boer” by his commander and chief for instance, to be an order to commit genocide and acts on it, that individual will be guilty of committing genocide, plain and simple.  Let’s look at a case study:

Case study – Helen and Alice Lotter

Free State farmers protesting against the gruesome ethnic murder on Helen and Alice Lotter
Free State farmers protesting against the gruesome ethnic murder on Helen and Alice Lotter

Mrs Helen Lotter, 57, and her bedridden mother Alice, 76.  Tortured to death with broken beer bottles in their anuses and vaginas – the attack had been so horrendous that the post-mortem examiner was unable to find any of Helen Lotter’s sexual organs at all; her breasts were partially cut off and broken bottle-shards were inserted in her vagina and anus as part of the hours of torture she and her mother Alice had endured –her cervix and uterus were completely shredded.  The mother’s front teeth were bashed out; her entire body was ‘covered in bruises, chafing and stabbing wounds. Her sexual parts were mutilated extensively also internally.  The old farm woman had died due to ‘asphyxiation after breathing in blood from penetrating stabbing wounds in her neck and throat’.  They were then both left to die.  Mrs Helen Lotter’s death-bed confession identified the killers as a gardener, Joseph Hlongwane, 22 who had only started working for them a few months earlier, and an associate Joseph Khumalo, 21.  The forensic DNA and fingerprint evidence confirmed Helen Lotter’s death-bed confession. “Kill the Boer” had been daubed in the women’s blood on the farmhouse walls.

ANC mayor, Mrs Mataba Leeto led an anti-Boer protest at the law court where the trial was held.  They chanted genocidal hate-speech songs such as ‘Kill the Boer, kill the Farmer’ in support of the two killers’ getting bail.  Mrs Leeto has not been put on public record as expressing any kind of sympathy nor outrage over the way the two Lotter women had been tortured to death.   Instead, she led a group which was protesting against the ‘racism’ of local Afrikaner residents who had held a ‘re-enactment’ of the way in which the women were tortured to death to illustrate the community’s deep anger. Both men were found guilty and sent to prison.

According to the definition of genocide, a crime can only be called genocide if both elements of Article II are present:

  1. the mental element, meaning the “intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such”, and

  2. the physical element which includes five acts described in sections a, b, c, d and e.

Mental element

Intent to destroy can be proven directly from statements or orders.  In this case the statement “Kill the Boer” can be linked directly to the crime and can be interpreted as an order.

In whole or in part: perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group, an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.  In this case two individuals killed two people, and by providing evidence for intention, “Kill the Boer”, their actions infer that in their minds, they were acting out on a larger plan to destroy a group.

A national, ethnical, racial or religious group:  In this case the perpetrators acted on the Afrikaner ethnic group specifically, as proven with their words “Kill the Boer”.

Physical element

In this case we had the killing members of the group.  On top of that, the crime included torture, rape, sexual violence and mutilation which are synonymous with genocide.

Conclusion

There are indicators that genocide could be happening on a larger scale, for example, widespread rape, torture and executions of Afrikaners on their farms, with perpetrators stealing few or no valuables.  However the existence of an organised plan to commit genocide is unknown and will be extremely difficult to prove.  Regardless, individuals can be perpetrators of genocide by definition.  In the above case study, the evidence provided is clear.  If you debate me on this case, at best you prove that this case is a racist hate crime, which I’m afraid is not much worse than genocide.  And before I’m accused of being right-winged, let me make myself clear – There are racists in every race on earth, racist hate crimes are committed by all races and genocide can be committed by any race upon another race, even if it’s done by individuals.

Understanding each other’s anger

As described in Stephen Covey ‘7 Habits’, “Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.”

We as human beings get angry when we are victims of crime, even more so when we are specifically targeted because of our race, sexuality, gender etc.  In South Africa we know this all too well.  We understand the great atrocities committed during Apartheid, the racial discrimination inflicted upon groups and the anger it produced.  Well the exact same anger is felt when individuals are targeted today, as seen in the case study, solely because of their race.  Understand why other members of the victim’s group would feel threatened, angry and perceive there to be a possible genocide occurring.  And when they speak out they are insulted.  Please, just a little understanding goes a long way in building this country.

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