The head of a UN team investigating the atrocities by the Islamic State in Iraq & the Levant (ISIL), Special Advisor Karim Khan, reported to the UN Security Council May 10 that the team has established “clear and convincing” evidence of genocide against the Yazidi religious minority. The UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) has finalized preliminary case briefs on two key priorities: the attacks against the Yazidi community in the Sinjar region of Iraq starting in June 2014, and the mass killing that month of predominantly Shia unarmed cadets and military personnel at Iraq’s Tikrit Air Academy.
In his sixth and final preliminary report, Khan noted that the ISIL’s crimes, especially its ultimatum to convert or die, have “shocked the conscience of humanity.” The evidence collected by UNITAD confirms crimes of murder, rape, torture, enslavement, sexual slavery, and persecution against the Yazidis.
With respect to the mass executions at Tikrit Air Academy, Khan reported that UNITAD has identified video evidence of direct and public incitement to commit genocide against Shia Muslims. The investigations also uncovered the ISIL’s “demonstrated capacity” to manufacture and deploy chemical and biological weapons, especially by weaponizing chlorine from water treatment plants and testing biological agents on prisoners.
Khan emphasized that it is not sufficient to only document ISIL’s crimes, but also to support legislation for the prosecution of its members:
Legislation of course is needed to ensure that Iraq has the legal architecture in place to prosecute this haemorrhage of the human soul: not as common crimes of terrorism, heinous though they are, but as acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
From Jurist, May 11. Used with permission.
Note: “Daesh” is the popular Arabic pejorative for the “Islamic State.”
Photo via Ezidikhan Public Information Bureau