The U.N. Security Council responded to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait with a
comprehensive regime of sanctions. This Article examines the claim that
the highly planned policy contains elements of genocide and critically
examines the international legal definition of genocide and its central
requirement of specific intent. It argues that the conception of genocide
contained in the 1948 Genocide Convention ignores whole categories of
atrocities, exculpating certain actors who have committed acts of massive
human destruction and removing the acts themselves from the sphere of
moral judgment and accountability. The Article describes the devastating
human costs that the Security Council and the United States have
knowingly imposed upon the people of Iraq through the sanctions regime.
It suggests that because the policy is justified with claims of international
peace and security or denials of moral agency, it cannot meet the Genocide
Convention's requirement of specific intent. Drawing upon the work of
philosophers such as Arendt and Nietzsche, the Article concludes by
charging the Security Council and the U.S. Government with something
that will not fit within the Genocide Convention at all, something best
described by Plato's concept of "perfect injustice," which occurs when
atrocities are made at once invisible and good.
When Intent Makes All the Difference in the World: Economic Sanctions on Iraq and the Accusation of Genocide,
Yale Hum. Rts. & Dev. L.J.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yhrdlj/vol5/iss1/2