The Genocide of the Iraqi Kurds and Trial of Saddam Hussein

The Genocide of the Iraqi Kurds and Trial of Saddam Hussein
FALL 2005
The First Step in the Nomination of a
Justice is a Vacancy on the Court

By Michael J. Kelly, Associate Professor of Law 

The Genocide of the Iraqi Kurds and Trial of Saddam Hussein

The Genocide of the Iraqi Kurds and Trial of Saddam Hussein

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent
to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious
group, as such:
[a] Killing members of the group;
[b] Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
[c] Deliberately inß icting on the group conditions of life calculated to
bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
[d] Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
[e] Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Saddam Hussein, the former
Iraqi dictator, sits in solitary
confinement under the care of
U.S. military police awaiting trial by the
newly minted Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST)
for a laundry list of crimes committed
during his 33 years in power. He was
toppled by an American-led invasion in
March 2003, and remained in hiding
until discovered by U.S. forces in a
six-foot underground “spider hole,”
armed only with a pistol that he did not
use. He gardens while he waits for his
trial. The charges against Hussein include
war crimes, crimes against humanity,
aggression and genocide. While each of
these international crimes requires varying
levels of proof and assertion unique to
the specific crime or its sub-component,
genocide is perhaps the trickiest of the
lot, requiring not mere intent, but specific
intent to destroy an identifiable group of
people. Although it has been called the
“crime of crimes” since the experience of
the Holocaust, genocide has traditionally
been the most difficult crime for
prosecutors to prove.
Formally outlawed in 1948, genocide has
existed in practice from time immemorial.
Indeed, it was known in the ancient
world as a legitimate practice, used
most famously by the Romans against
Carthage. Throughout the Middle Ages
and into the modern era, genocide was
regularly practiced until the slaughter of
the Armenians by the Ottoman Turks
during World War I. International
outrage at the atrocity moved world
opinion toward condemning genocide,
culminating in the adoption of the
Genocide Convention in 1948 after
World War II and the Holocaust.

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