Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Louis R. Beres

First Page



In this Article, Professor Beres proposes that Iraqi crimes committed during the Gulf War should be prosecuted under international law. He suggests that the United States should take the lead in this prosecution, utilizing a Nuremberg-style trial.

The Article first discusses history of the antigenocide regime in the international arena. The criminalization of genocide has been built upon the norms of international custom, natural law principles, and generally-accepted principles of law recognized by civilized nations. Moreover, evidence of this regime may be found in the Genocide Convention, the United Nations Charter, and other treaties and conventions.

Professor Beres next examines the problems attendant to enforcement of an antigenocide regime. States must reject claims to domestic jurisdiction and allow humanitarian intervention when the claim involves gross outrages against human rights.

The Article concludes that the antigenocide regime must be enforced against Iraq now. There is an obligation, particularly by the United States, to bring major Iraqi war criminals to trial. The author suggests that a specially-created ad hoc tribunal, such as the one created at Nuremberg, could be convened in Iraq or, more likely, in Kuwait. Professor Beres contends that the United States should lead this prosecution effort because of its special role in military operations supporting the Security Council resolutions, its historic role at Nuremberg, and its authority in prosecuting such crimes in its own federal courts