The recently coined definition of genocide among scholars and international organizations varies throughout history; however, there is the common understanding that genocide is the intentional destruction of a large group of people who are often associated with a specific origin or denomination. According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), part two, article six, Genocide is any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical or religious group such as: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group (Prevent Genocide International, 2008).
Nature of Crime
The mass destruction of a specific group of people often occurs due to instigation experienced by the offenders themselves. Societal difficulties, economic problems such as unemployment and inflation; and political issues such as political chaos can work as a stressor for a group of people. It is the fundamental human needs such as positive identity, control, security, and connection to others that are at risk when a group of people turns to genocide as a solution. When the psychological, social, and physical needs are not met, some individuals may seek safety and salvation out of desperation by taking the lives of another group of people that have their needs met (Ashmore, et al., 2001).
Yet another instigator can be a conflict that arises between two or more groups of people where crucial needs and resources such as land or living space are affected. Often times, the conflict between the groups happen because of psychological reasons rather than reasonable issues regarding basic physical needs and survival. These psychological reasons often entail patriotism and a group identifying themselves with a certain region or territory (Ashmore, et al., 2001).
In 1988, the Iraqi government, then led by Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, led a genocidal campaign against the ethnic Kurds who occupied the northern side of the country. Dubbed as the 'Al-Anfal Campaign', approximately 50,000-100,000 Kurds were killed en masse by the state military with various weaponries, including chemical. The widespread targeting and murder of so many Iraqi Kurds stems from the history between the Ba'ath Party and the Kurds, dating back to 1968. For decades already, the Kurdish people had posted various guerrilla groups in the region, attempting to establish an autonomous and Kurdish nation between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey; named Kurdistan. Hence, perceiving the Kurdish movement as a threat to the larger and predominantly Arab...