Hollow Promises in the Face of Slaughter: The Yazidi Genocide and the Path Toward Justice

28 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2019

See all articles by Marija Tesla

Marija Tesla

Boston College, Law School, Students

Date Written: May 1, 2019


This paper gives a background on genocide as a concept, breaks down the Genocide Convention and how the treaty came into existence, provides insight into the duality of the definition of genocide, as both a legal and political concept, gives understanding as to how this duality has played out in the case of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, and compares those cases to the case of the Yazidis in Iraq. Finally, it focuses on both the murder and actual killing of the Yazidis and also the use of sexual violence against the Yazidi women and girls as a tactic of war and delves into why the enslavement of women and girls is a form of genocide. It does this in part by using the story and the case of Nadia Murad, a survivor who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018 for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

Further, it gives potential counterarguments, while establishing that they are based on political and policy reasoning and not on the application of the law to this set of facts, which in this case is the application of the Genocide Convention to the events that took place in August 2014 in the Sinjar region of Iraq and all that has happened since. Lastly, it breaks down how members of ISIS who perpetrated these horrific crimes can be brought to justice by the creation of an international tribunal and the need to create a space for this in order to prevent such crimes in the future. One critical component of labeling an atrocity genocide is deterrence, a part of the crime that is failing in its application today, and, yet, deterrence is a major component of what labeling an atrocity a genocide is meant to accomplish. This paper aims to show what lack of deterrence has meant for the Yazidi community in Iraq, and what it means for other groups around the globe right now and moving forward.

Keywords: genocide, Yazidi, Iraq, ISIS, sexual violence, rape, international tribunal, atrocity, deterrence, war, women, girls

Suggested Citation

Tesla, Marija, Hollow Promises in the Face of Slaughter: The Yazidi Genocide and the Path Toward Justice (May 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3399108 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3399108

Marija Tesla (Contact Author)

Boston College, Law School, Students ( email )

Chestnut Hill, MA
United States

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