Why Iraq Should Enact Laws Criminalizing Genocide

Aldo Zammit Borda is Associate Professor at City, University of London. He has published extensively on international justice issues and, most recently, has co-authored a report on State responsibility for the Yazidi genocide. The following is an edited summary of his remarks at the April and July 2022 Windsor Dialogue conferences.

We know the heavy psychosocial toll that the genocide perpetrated by ISIS (Daesh) against the Yazidis has had on this small, religious community. That genocide, which began in the early hours of 3 August 2014, was intended to destroy the Yazidis in northern Iraq on account of their religious beliefs and their depiction as “devil worshippers.”

Under the Genocide Convention, the crime of genocide may be committed through a number of underlying acts, including killing, causing serious bodily or mental harm, and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about a group’s physical destruction. In 2016, a UN Commission of Inquiry report found that ISIS fighters had committed genocide against the Yazidis using all of the methods envisaged by the Convention.


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