An Appeal to the United States Congress from Genocide Scholars

An Appeal to the United States Congress from Genocide Scholars


Image: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Copyright CNN 2015

We, the undersigned, each a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the world’s largest organization of experts on genocide, call upon the United States Congress to declare that the crimes committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also known as Da’esh, constitute genocide in violation of the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

 Genocide is the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such.  ISIS is committing genocide against religious groups that do not conform to ISIS’s totalitarian definition of ‘true Islam’. ISIS’s mass murders of Chaldean, Assyrian, Melkite Greek, and Coptic Christians, Yazidis, Shia Muslims, Sunni Kurds and other religious groups meet even the strictest definition of genocide.

 ISIS’s policy of mass rape is also genocidal.  The gendered pattern of persecution pursued by ISIS against groups it considers to be infidels conforms to historical patterns of genocide, particularly the mass killing of men and teenage boys accompanied by the rape and enslavement of women and teenage girls and the kidnapping of children.

 ISIS government in areas it has occupied includes beheadings of captives and people considered apostates, destruction of religious centers such as churches and monasteries, and pillage of ancient cultural sites that do not conform to the regime’s religious orthodoxy—acts typical of genocidal regimes.

 Genocide is a crime against humanity.  ISIS has perpetrated many other crimes against humanity as well, including




      deportation and forcible transfers of populations;



      rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, and other forms of sexual ​​violence of comparable            gravity; 

      persecution against identifiable groups on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds; 

      enforced disappearance of persons; and

      other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.


ISIS commits war crimes as part of a plan or policy on a large scale. These prohibited acts include:


      mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

      taking of hostages;

      intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population; 

      intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes,            historical monuments or hospitals; 


      rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other forms of sexual violence;

      conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate             actively in hostilities.


ISIS leaders should be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their crimes. The U.N. Security Council should refer ISIS crimes to the ICC for investigation and prosecution.  The UN and Regional Organizations should act swiftly and firmly, and follow-up with police force to arrest ISIS leaders.


 This statement has been endorsed by: 


Gregory H. Stanton, J.D., Ph.D.

President, Genocide Watch

Professor, George Mason University, Arlington, VA

Former President, IAGS


Andrew Woolford, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Sociology 

University of Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba

President, IAGS


Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Director of the Master of Arts in Holocaust and Genocide Studies Program

Stockton University, Stockton, NJ

First Vice President, IAGS


Kjell Anderson

Coordinator, Masters Program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies

The University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Second Vice President, IAGS


Dr. Stephanie Wolfe

Weber State University

Ogden, UT

New Media Communications, IAGS


Prof. Israel W. Charny, Ph.D.

Executive Director, Institute on the Holocaust & Genocide

Jerusalem, Israel

Former President, IAGS


Dr. Robert Melson

Emeritus Professor

Purdue and Clark Universities

Purdue, Indiana and Worcester, MA

Former President, IAGS


Amy Fagin

Founder and Director, Beyond Genocide Centre for Prevention

New Salem, MA

IAGS Advisory Board


Dr. Adam Muller

Associate Professor

Department of English, Film, & Theatre

University of Manitoba

Winnipeg, Manitoba

IAGS Advisory Board


Dr. Melanie O’Brien

TC Beirne School of Law

University of Queensland, Australia

Editor, Genocide Studies and Prevention

IAGS Advisory Board


Prof. Hannibal Travis

Florida International University College of Law

Miami, FL

IAGS Advisory Board


Douglas Irvin-Erickson, Ph.D.

Director, Genocide Prevention Program

School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason University

Arlington, VA

Editor, Journal of Genocide Studies and Prevention


Dr. Mohammed Hussein Ahmed, PhD 

Professor of Linguistics

University of Garmian

Kurdistan, Iraq


Ruth Amir, Ph.D.

Senior Lecturer

Yezreel Valley College



Maral N. Attallah

Lecturer of Ethnic & Genocide Studies

Humboldt State University

Arcata, CA


Dr. Peter Balakian

Donald M. and Constance H. Rebar Professor of the Humanities

Colgate University

Hamilton, NY 13346


Dr. Janja Bec-Neumann

Distinguished Scholar

Vojvodina, Serbia


Sara E. Brown 

Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Clark University

Worcester, MA


Jean-François Bussière-Wallot, LLM

Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre

Montreal, Quebec



Ms.  Julissa Contin
Head of the African Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic,


 Prof. Stephen L. Egbert, PhD

Department of Geography

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS


Sarah Federman, Ph.D.

Director of Corporate Accountability and Genocide Prevention

School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution

George Mason University, Arlington, VA


Dr. Marcello Flores

University of Siena


Prof. Karen Frostig, Ph.D.

Lesley University

Cambridge, MA

Resident Scholar

Brandeis University


Adam Jones, Ph.D.

Professor of Political Science

University of British Columbia



Dr. Zachary D. Kaufman

Fellow, John F. Kennedy School of Government

Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

Harvard University

Cambridge, MA


Prof. Naupess K Kibiswa, PhD

Int’l Peace, Justice, Conflict Analysis, & Resolution
Genocide Awareness & Prevention Scholar
Catholic University of DR Congo (UCC)
Higher Institute of Medical Techniques (ISTM)
Former Fulbright Scholar, Gandhi Fellow, & YALI Alumnus
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)


Dr. Mark D. Kielsgard, 

Assistant Professor of Law

City University of Hong Kong

Peoples Republic of China


Dr. Theodosios Kyriakidis

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

St. George Peristereota Research Centre

Thessaloniki, Greece


John Liffiton BSc,MA

Director, Genocide Conference

Scottsdale Community College

Scottsdale, AZ


Beth E. Lilach

Senior Director of Education and Community Affairs

Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center

Glen Cove, NY


Nikki Marczak

Australian Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies




Armen T. Marsoobian, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy

Southern Connecticut State University

New Haven, CT


Dr. Jonathan Leader Maynard

Departmental Lecturer in International Relations, DPIR & New College

Research Associate, Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict

University of Oxford, England UK


Abigail Miller

Strassler Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Clark University

Worcester, MA 


Prof. Christopher W. Mullins

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Southern Illinois University

Carbondale, IL


Rubina Peroomian, Ph.D.


Los Angeles, CA


Heidi M. Ravven, Ph.D.

Professor of Religious Studies

Hamilton College

Clinton, NY


Dr. Elihu D Richter, MD, MPH

Associate Professor 

Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Director, Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention

Jerusalem, Israel


Ariel Ricker 

Hawaii State Senate

Honolulu, Hawaii


John K. Roth

Edward J. Sexton Professor Emeritus of Philosophy

Claremont McKenna College

Claremont, CA


Emily Sample

Associate Director of Education

Holocaust Museum Houston

Houston, TX


Marc I Sherman, MLS

Chief Librarian

Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace

Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel



Robert Skloot, Professor Emeritus

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Madison, WI


Prof. Colin Tatz

Australian National University

Canberra, Australia


Mohammed H. Tofiq

Kurdish Author

Kurdistan, Iraq


Dr. Andrekos Varnava

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society

Senior Lecturer in Imperial and Military History

School of History and International Relations

Flinders University

Adelaide, Australia


Dr. Ernesto Verdeja

Associate Professor of Political Science and Peace Studies

University of Notre Dame

South Bend, Indiana


Prof. Margaret Urban Walker

Donald J. Schuenke Chair

Philosophy Department

Marquette University

Milwaukee, WI


Dr. Gregory Weeks

The Human Security Initiative

Vienna, Austria


Eve Zucker, Ph.D.

Sociocultural Anthropologist

Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights

Rutgers University

Newark, NJ



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