Ten stages of genocide

In 1996, Gregory Stanton, the founding president of Genocide Watch, presented a briefing paper called "The 8 Stages of Genocide" at the United States Department of State.[1] In it he suggested that genocide develops in eight stages that are "predictable but not inexorable".[a][1] Stanton first conceived and published his stages of genocide model in the 1987 Faulds Lecture at Warren Wilson College, also presented to the American Anthropological Association in 1987. In 2012, Stanton added two additional stages, Discrimination and Persecution, to his model, which resulted in a 10-stage model of genocide.[2] The stages are not linear, and usually several occur simultaneously. Stanton's model is a conceptual model for analyzing the processes of genocide, and for determining preventive measures that might be taken to combat or stop each process.


The Stanton paper was presented at the State Department in 1996, shortly after the Rwandan genocide, but it also analyzes the processes in the Holocaust, the Cambodian genocide, and other genocides. The preventive measures suggested are those that the United States, national governments, and United Nations could implement or influence other governments to implement.

# Stage Characteristics Preventive measures
1 Classification People are divided into "them and us". "The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend... divisions."
2 Symbolization "When combined with hatred, symbols may be forced upon unwilling members of pariah groups..." "To combat symbolization, hate symbols can be legally forbidden as can hate speech".
3 Discrimination "Law or cultural power excludes groups from full civil rights: segregation or apartheid laws, denial of voting rights". "Pass and enforce laws prohibiting discrimination. Full citizenship and voting rights for all groups."
4 Dehumanization "One group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects, or diseases." "Local and international leaders should condemn the use of hate speech and make it culturally unacceptable. Leaders who incite genocide should be banned from international travel and have their foreign finances frozen."
5 Organization "Genocide is always organized... Special army units or militias are often trained and armed..." "The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations"
6 Polarization "Hate groups broadcast polarizing propaganda..." "Prevention may mean security protection for moderate leaders or assistance to human rights groups...Coups d’état by extremists should be opposed by international sanctions."
7 Preparation "Mass killing is planned. Victims are identified and separated because of their ethnic or religious identity..." "At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. Full diplomatic pressure by regional organizations must be invoked, including preparation to intervene to prevent genocide."
8 Persecution "Expropriation, forced displacement, ghettos, concentration camps". "Direct assistance to victim groups, targeted sanctions against persecutors, mobilization of humanitarian assistance or intervention, protection of refugees."
9 Extermination "It is 'extermination' to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human". "At this stage, only rapid and overwhelming armed intervention can stop genocide. Real safe areas or refugee escape corridors should be established with heavily armed international protection."
10 Denial "The perpetrators... deny that they committed any crimes..." "The response to denial is punishment by an international tribunal or national courts"

Stanton's Ten Stage Model of the Genocidal Process is widely used in comparative genocide studies, by teachers in schools and universities, and in museums such as the Dallas Holocaust Museum. Stanton's methodology focuses on events and processes that lead to genocide. The organization he founded, Genocide Watch, monitors events worldwide. It issues Genocide Alerts to policymakers in governments and the UN.

Other genocide scholars have focused on the cultural and political conditions that lead to genocide. Sociologist Helen Fein showed that pre-existing anti-Semitism was correlated with the percentage of Jews killed in European countries during the Holocaust.[3] Political scientists such as Dr. Barbara Harff have identified political characteristics of states that statistically correlate with risk of genocide.[4] They are prior genocides with impunity; political upheaval; ethnic minority rule; exclusionary ideology; autocracy; closed borders; and massive violations of human rights.

Stanton's model places the risk factors in Harff's analysis of country risks of genocide and politicide into a processual structure. Risks of political instability are characteristic of what Leo Kuper[5] called "divided societies", with deep rifts in Classification. Targeted groups of state-led discrimination are victims of Discrimination. An exclusionary ideology is central to Dehumanization. Autocratic regimes foster the Organization of hate groups. An ethnically polarized elite is characteristic of Polarization. Lack of openness to trade and other influences from outside a state's borders is characteristic of Preparation for genocide or politicide. Massive violation of human rights is evidence of Persecution. Impunity after previous genocides or politicides is evidence of Denial.

More broadly, a variety of research has been done examining the determinants of violence against civilians in armed conflicts, including genocide.[6] Gregory Stanton has suggested that "Ultimately, the best antidote to genocide is popular education and the development of social and cultural tolerance for diversity."[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "The 8 Stages of Genocide". Genocide Watch. 1996.
  2. ^ a b Stanton, Gregory. "The Ten Stages of Genocide". Genocide Watch.
  3. ^ Fein, Helen (1979). Accounting for genocide: Victims and survivors of the Holocaust. New York: Free Press.
  4. ^ Harff, Barbara (2003). "No Lessons Learned from the Holocaust? Assessing Risks of Genocide and Political Mass Murder since 1955". The American Political Science Review. 97 (1): 57–73. doi:10.1017/S0003055403000522. JSTOR 3118221. S2CID 54804182.
  5. ^ Kuper, Leo (1981). Genocide (1982 ed.). New Haven: Yale. p. 58. ISBN 0-300-03120-3.
  6. ^ Balcells, Laia; Stanton, Jessica A. (11 May 2021). "Violence Against Civilians During Armed Conflict: Moving Beyond the Macro- and Micro-Level Divide". Annual Review of Political Science. 24 (1): 45–69. doi:10.1146/annurev-polisci-041719-102229.



  1. ^ The FBI has found somewhat similar stages for hate groups
  1. ^ "Genocide Watch- Ten Stages of Genocide". genocidewatch. Retrieved 2021-09-07.