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Outcomes from the Global Justice Center Brain Trust

Reconciling International Laws on Genocide and Counter-Terrorism

On June 12, 2017, the Global Justice Center convened a Brain Trust of legal experts to consider how to reconcile the legal obligations to prevent, suppress and punish genocide with counter-terrorism measures directed towards ISIS.

Evidence supports that ISIS has been engaged in an ongoing genocide against the Yazidis (and potentially other groups) since 2014. Over 3,000 Yazidi women and children remain in captivity. Today we may be witnessing yet again a failure of the international community to prevent, suppress and punish genocide.

While there are strong global measures aimed at stopping ISIS, such as Security Council Resolutions and counter-terrorism efforts, they have largely ignored erga omnes legal obligations related to genocide. This has resulted in a diminishing of the special protections of the Genocide Convention, including for women and girls. The failure to effectively respond to ISIS’s genocide of the Yazidis has revealed growing gaps between evolving law on genocide and responses to genocide, the latter now largely dealt with under the counter-terrorism framework.

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