Democide is a concept proposed by U.S. political scientist Rudolph Rummel to describe ‘the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command.’ According to Rummel, this definition covers a wide range of deaths, including forced labour and concentration camp victims; killings by unofficial private groups; extrajudicial summary killings; and mass deaths due to governmental acts of criminal omission and neglect such as in deliberate famines as well as killings by de facto governments, i.e. civil war killings. This definition covers any murder of any number of persons by any government. According to Rummel, his research showed that the death toll from democide is far greater than the death toll from war. After studying over 8,000 reports of government-caused deaths, Rummel estimated that there have been 262 million victims of democide in the last century. According to his figures, six times as many people have died from the actions of people working for governments than have died in battle.
by Michael Walsh
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