From the desert of Der-Zor where Turkey carried out the first Genocide of the 20th century against the Armenia’s to the Holocaust and systematic terror and violence in Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq and Darfur, CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports on the recurring nightmare of genocide and the largely unknown struggles of the heroes who witnessed evil – and "screamed bloody murder" for the international community to stop it.
As the 60th anniversary of the United Nations’ Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide approaches, a new two-hour documentary, CNN Presents: Scream Bloody Murder will premier this Thursday at 9pm Eastern and Pacific time.
Amanpour, who just celebrated her 25th year at CNN, has reported on most crises and human events from around the globe, including events in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Somalia, Rwanda and the Balkans. She has interviewed world leaders at the key momen’s of history as they happened and leverages this direct experience and depth of knowledge in Scream Bloody Murder. Her first-hand insights provide context to the key decisions before and during the heinous events that continue to shock the world.
Raphael Lemkin, a Polish Jew and lawyer, narrowly escaped the Holocaust, but his parents and 40 other members of his family perished in the slaughter. In the 1940s, Lemkin coined the term "genocide" and lobbied the then-fledgling UN for an international convention compelling nations to prevent and stop genocide.
CNN Productions VP, senior executive producer Mark Nelson says, "Lemkin hoped that the international community would ensure that genocide never happened again, but other crusaders against genocide met the same indifference and resistance Lemkin encountered. This film is about their stories – and what we can learn from them."
Just one generation later, Father Fran?ois Ponchaud, a Catholic missionary working in Cambodia, tried to alert the world to the torture and mass executions following the rise of the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Ponchaud published articles, a book, and even spoke before the U.N. to urge action to stop the killing.
"No one believed us," Ponchaud tells Amanpour in the documentary. In fewer than four years, the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror claimed the lives of nearly two million men, women and children – one fourth of Cambodia’s population.
"No one defends human rights," the priest says in the documentary. "Governmen’s are cold beasts looking out for their own interests."
Amanpour also reports on what many consider to be the first genocide of the 21st century: Darfur. Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor and one of the founders of the grassroots activism to end genocide in Darfur says, "There was no lack of information, there was no lack of understanding, there was a lack of will to stop genocide – year after year after year."