This Independent Study Thesis answers two main questions and then combines those answers to form a cohesive policy recommendation for intervention into genocide. The first question is whether intervention into genocide can be successful. And the second is whether intervention can be ethical. The question of success is answered by a comparative case study on the interventions into East Timor, Kosovo, and Darfur. The ethical question is answered through an evaluation of rule-utilitarianism as well as cosmopolitan arguments. The thesis is divided into seven chapters.

The first chapter is the literature review. It explains how to define genocide and then moves on to evaluate the state of the existing literature on the subject. The second chapter is the theory chapter and evaluates overarching international relations theories; as well as ethical theories and theories of the state. The third chapter is the methodology and lays out the form of the case study. The fourth, fifth, and sixth chapters are the case analyses themselves, and deal with East Timor, Kosovo, and Darfur respectively. The seventh chapter answers the ethical question. It confronts whether states can have moral obligations, and then formulates an obligation to assist.

The results suggest three important things. There can be successful intervention into genocide. There can be ethical intervention into genocide. And, most importantly, that these two are not mutually exclusive. I then conclude with a policy recommendation for ethical and successful intervention into genocide.


Krain, Matthew

Second Advisor

Thomson, Garrett


International Relations; Philosophy


Ethics and Political Philosophy | International Relations


Genocide, Human Rights

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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