Armenian Genocide Museum-Istitute (AGMI) researcher Narek Poghosyan participated in the international conference dedicated to the Genocide of the people of Kurdistan titled “On the Genocide of the Feyli Kurds” held in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan, from 2nd to the 4th May.
A top committee, consisting of the leadership of the Saladin, Soran, and Dohuk universities in Iraqi Kurdistan, was formed to arrange and hold this conference. Over 160 short and 88 research reports from 25 countries were presented during its three days.
Various reports were presented during the conference concerning the actions taken by Saddam Hussein's regime against the Kurds and, especially, about the crimes committed against the Feyli (Shia) Kurds in 1980, when thousands of them were deported from Iraq to Iran or killed and their property confiscated.
Narek Poghosyan gave a report on genocide studies, as well as a comparative analysis of the Armenian genocide and the genocidal actions committed against the Kurds, particularly of the Anfal operations.
He stated that the condemnation and recognition of genocide began after the definition of this crime by the lawyer Raphael Lemkin. At the time he was defining it, the mass murders of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire had left a special impression on him.
The tragic fate of the Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire confirmed his view that norms of international law should be created so that the intentional and systematic extermination of national or religious minorities by the state would become a punishable crime.
Lemkin's concern regarding the condemnation of the Armenian Genocide caused him to set a clear goal for Turkey to be among the first countries to ratify the “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” However, despite ratifying the convention, Turkey still denies the historical reality of the Armenian genocide and spends considerable resources promoting denial policies.
Poghosyan, in his report, emphasised that the refutation and denial of the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide paved the way for the repetition of the crime of genocide in the future, examples of which are the genocidal actions carried out by Saddam Hussein’s government against the Iraqi Kurds.
There is, however, almost no significant campaign of denial in the case of the Kurdish Genocide, as there is the case of the Armenian Genocide. Iraq has recognised the Kurdish genocide and established the Supreme Criminal Tribunal of Iraq to try, under national law, Iraqis accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other serious crimes committed between 1968 and 2003.