Prevention of genocide requires a structural understanding of the genocidal process. Eight stages of genocidal process were developed by Gregory H. Stanton . It has been improved by ten stages recently. The first stages precede later stages, but continue to operate throughout the genocidal process. Each stage reinforces the others. A strategy to prevent genocide should attack each stage, each process. The ten stages of genocide are:
1. Classification: Classification is the first stage of genocidal process. In this stage of classification the peoples of different cultures are categorized into “us and them” by ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality. For example- German and Jew, Hutu and Tutsi. The main preventive measure at this early stage is to develop universalistic institutions that transcend ethnic or racial divisions which actively promote tolerance and understanding. Promotion of a common language in countries like Tanzania has also promoted transcendent national identity. This search for common ground is vital to early prevention of genocide. However, during 1971 in East Pakistan (Present Bangladesh), the West Pakistani rulers categorized the people on the basis of language and religion. For examples: Bangalees, Hindus, Pure Muslims, Anti Muslims etc.
2. Symbolization: We give different names or symbols to the classifications. We name people “Jews” or “Gypsies”, or distinguish them by colors or dress; and apply the symbols to members of groups. Classification and symbolization are universally human and do not necessarily result in genocide unless they lead to dehumanization.
3. Discrimination: In this stage of discrimination, the dominant group creates discrimination and uses law, custom, and political power to deny the rights of other groups. The powerless group may not be accorded full civil rights or even citizenship. For examples: the denial of citizenship to the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma is discrimination. Similarly the Bangalees were subject to discrimination both socially and politically in 1971 by West Pakistanis. Prevention against discrimination means full political empowerment and citizenship rights for all groups in a society and the discrimination on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, race or religion should be outlawed.
4. Dehumanization: In this stage of dehumanization, one group denies the humanity of the other group. Members of it are equated with animals, vermin, insects or diseases.
5. Organization: Genocide is always committed in an organized manner. For examples: special army units or militias are often trained and armed and plans are made for genocidal killings. It was happened during 1971 in Bangladesh. To combat this stage, membership in these militias should be outlawed. Their leaders should be denied visas for foreign travel. The U.N. should impose arms embargoes on governments and citizens of countries involved in genocidal massacres, and create commissions to investigate violations, as was done in post-genocide Rwanda.
6. Polarization: In this stage the extremists drive the groups apart broadcasting polarizing propaganda. Laws may forbid intermarriage or social interaction. Extremist terrorism targets moderates, intimidating and silencing the center.
7. Preparation: In this stage the perpetrators build armies, buy weapons and train their troops and militias for genocidal killing. Prevention of preparation may include arms embargos and commissions to enforce them. It should include prosecution of incitement and conspiracy to commit genocide, both crimes under Article 3 of the Genocide Convention.
8. Persecution: Victims are identified and separated out because of their ethnic or religious identity. Death lists are drawn up. In state sponsored genocide, members of victim groups may be forced to wear identifying symbols. Their property is often expropriated. Sometimes they are even segregated into ghettoes, deported into concentration camps, or confined to a famine-struck region and starved. Genocidal massacres begin. They are acts of genocide because they intentionally destroy part of a group. At this stage, a Genocide Emergency must be declared. If the political will of the great powers, regional alliances, or the U.N. Security Council can be mobilized, armed international intervention should be prepared, or heavy assistance provided to the victim group to prepare for its self-defense. Humanitarian assistance should be organized by the U.N. and private relief groups for the inevitable tide of refugees to come.
9. Extermination: It begins, and quickly becomes the mass killing legally called “genocide.” It is “extermination” to the killers because they do not believe their victims to be fully human. However, when it is sponsored by the state, the armed forces often work with militias to do the killing. Similarly the Bangalees were treated as worst people by West Pakistanis.
10. Denial: It is the final stage of genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile. Similarly it happened in Bangladesh during 1971.