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War Crimes

S. government. This is only one of many reasons why it is in the interest of U.S. policymakers to see better human rights conditions prevail in Kuwait.

An important question facing any war crimes trial of Saddam Hussein and his associates would be whether to consider charges relating to the conduct of his regime within Iraq. The most serious such charge would be that of genocide committed against the Kurds, with notable instances being the use of poison gas against a Kurdish town in 1988, and, possibly, causing the current mass flight of Iraq's Kurdish population.

Genocide, as defined in international law, is the destruction of a people. It not limited to the literal extermination, or attempted extermination of every single member of a population. There have been two "great" genocides of this most extreme sort in the twentieth century, that of the Turks against the Armenians in 1915, and that of the Nazi Germans against Jews and some other groups during World War II. A people may be "destroyed," however, even though many individual members of the victim group survive. A people whose culture is systematically eliminated, who are kept in a state of terror, large numbers of whom are arbitrarily killed, who are driven into exile, are considered to be victims of genocide.25

There is every reason to believe that Iraq's Kurds, and possibly Iraq's Shiite Muslims as well, are victims of genocide by this definition. Thorough investigation would be required, however; for example, evidence that Kurdish rebels helped to foment mass flight would be a possible defense against the charge of genocide by driving into mass exile. On the other hand, it could be argued that the sheer scale of the flight was itself powerful evidence of a general state of terror in the

25Kuper, 148170. Kurdish population that would support the charge of genocide. (Israel would be highly sensitive about such an argument, however, as ...

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War Crimes. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:17, August 23, 2017, from
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