In 1991, the Somali government led b y Mohamed Siad Barre was brought to a violent end by a civil war. Barre, an army general who had seized power in 1969 through a coup d’etat and had ever since ruled the Horn of Africa nation with an iron fist, was chased out of the capital, Mogadishu, in an orgy of death and destruction. The war had started in the northern parts of the country in the mid-1980’s but had gradually spread to the south. The uprising in the North was spearheaded by the Somali National Movement (SNM), an insurgency whose members hailed mostly from the Isaaq clan. Barre’s response to that insurgency was swift and brutal, and by the time SNM came to power in early 1991 and declared the creation of a new independent state called Somaliland, tens of thousands of Isaaqs had been killed. As a result, allegations were made that genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes had been committed by the Barre regime. This study examines whether or not these allegations fit the conventional definitions and jurisprudential interpretations of such mass killings by the ad hoc international criminal tribunals.