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50 Denv. J. Int'l L. & Pol'y 109 (2021-2022)
Settling the Genocide v. Ethnic Cleansing Debate: Ending Misuse of the Euphemism Ethnic Cleansing

handle is hein.journals/denilp50 and id is 118 raw text is: SETTLING THE GENOCIDE V. ETHNIC CLEANSING DEBATE:
Since the term ethnic cleansing appeared on the world stage in the early
1990s, it has spurred many legal debates. This article engages the debate between
those who believe the term is legally distinct from genocide and those who believe
it is a euphemism for genocide. Weaving through a linguistic, criminological, and
legal analysis, this article supports the latter of those beliefs and demonstrates how
journalists, governments, and NGOs use the euphemism to avoid triggering effective
responses to genocide. In an effort to thwart further harm to genocide prevention and
prosecution, the article calls for an end to the term's misuse. Additionally, with re-
spect to other euphemisms for genocide, the article recommends early warning ana-
lysts employ the same word-filtering technologies used by anti-trafficking advo-
cates. By harnessing this technology, these analysts can better detect impending and
ongoing genocides, while building an evidentiary case that links words to perpetra-
tors and genocidal acts.

*Jennifer Kirby-McLemore served as the pro bono Legal Director at Genocide Watch from December
2020 through December 2021. She earned a J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law in
2015, an MA from the University of Chicago in 2009, and her BS from Appalachian State University in
I offer my most sincere thanks to Dr. Gregory Stanton not only for his foundational work on ethnic
cleansing as a euphemism for genocide but also for his guidance and support. Likewise, I thank the Gen-
ocide Watch staff and legal team for being a sounding board for my research.


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