Conventional understandings of denial are rooted in the analysis of language used to negate claims of genocide, and shed little light on the effects of denial beyond words heard or read. Is denying the crime only concerned with refuting its occurrence? Is there more at stake in denying genocide crimes than a lack of mutuality over whether it happened? To deny a crime is to deny what is owed those harmed by the crime, and this involves accountability and restitution according to relevant law. Written or spoken words that reject outright, re-characterize, confuse, or shift blame bring harm on an emotional level, but the real omissions associated with denial come when the crime goes unpunished. In acts by the Guatemalan state before, during and after its 2013 trial of former State officials for genocide crimes we see a wider range of denial behavior. The findings in this paper suggest that acts or failures to act that vacate duties to prosecute, adjudicate and penalize genocide crimes go further in withholding what is due victims and society than does speech that rejects the crime on a superficial level.
Avakian, Paul N.
"Denial in Other Forms,"
Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal:
Available at: https://scholarcommons.usf.edu/gsp/vol12/iss1/4
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