The Plight of Refugees in the Mediterranean Basin as Evidence of Genocidal Intent: Interpreting Forced Migration from Bosnia, Cyprus, Iraq, Libya, and Syria
Author/s: Hannibal Travis
Year: 2017 Vol: 2 Number: 2
Since the 1980s, it has become increasingly common for members of the international community to condemn as “genocide” such policies as forcing communities to flee their homes because they are seen as a security risk. The treatment of the Baha’i by Iran attracted condemnation during the 1980s that included such acts to be classified as genocide by a UN-commissioned study on genocide. Other mass refugee exoduses resulted in occasional recognitions of genocide, including some resulting in action, such as India’s declaring a genocide of the Bengalis and Hindus in East Pakistan, and Vietnam’s declaring a genocide in communist Cambodia. Starting in 1992, Turkey and other Eastern Mediterranean powers began to criticize Bosnian Serb and Serbian policies of “ethnic cleansing” against Bosnian Muslims, declaring them to be a “form of genocide.” The condemnation of the Bosnian Serbs for having committed genocide led to military intervention. This paper begins with concepts defined by international law and used to address the treatment of forced migrants. It then describes the law of genocidal intent during times of war or other threats to national security. Its thesis is that courts could utilize the jurisprudence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia to apply the proscription against genocide to the plight of refugees from the Eastern Mediterranean.