First Yazidi genocide trial opens in Germany


The trial of an accused former high-ranking ISIS member charged with taking part in the genocide of the Yazidi people of northern Iraq opened in Frankfurt April 24. The suspect, identified only as Taha al-J., is under indictment in the murder of a five-year-old girl who he had “purchased” along with her mother at a “slave market” in 2015. The girl is said to have died of thirst while chained up for hours in blazing heat as “punishment” for having wet the bed. The girl, named Rania, was taken captive with her mother when ISIS seized the Yazidi enclave of Sinjar in 2014. They changed hands repeatedly beforeĀ endingĀ up as slaves in the home of the accused in Fallujah. The suspect faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and human trafficking.

Al-J. was arrested in Greece in May 2019, and extradited to Germany in October, where he has since been held in pre-trial custody.

His wife, a German woman named as Jennifer Wenisch, has been on trial for a year at a Munich court. Her case is believed to be the first related to ISIS perseuction of the Yazidis, although she is only charged with murder. Lebanese-British lawyer Amal Clooney and Yazidi activist Nadia Muradā€”herself a survivor of ISIS sexual slavery and a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winnerā€”have represented Rania’sĀ mother at Wenisch’sĀ trial.

Taha al-J. is charged under Germany’s 2002 Code of Crimes Against International Law (CCAIL), which extends “universal jurisdiction”Ā for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. (Rudaw, Al Jazeera,Ā Just Security)

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

  1. German court hands down conviction in ISIS atrocity

    A court in MunichĀ sentenced a woman to 10 years in prison for belonging to ISIS and allowing a five-year-old Yazidi girl who her husband had purchased as a slave to die of thirst. The conviction of the woman, who is now a German citizen and was living in Iraq when her husband left the girl chained up outside to die in August 2015, marks one of the first times a member of ISIS has been held accountable for crimes committed against the Yazidi minority. (TNH)

  2. Landmark conviction in Yazidi genocide

    A Frankfurt courtĀ found Iraqi national Taha al-JumaillyĀ guilty of participating in genocide against the Yazidi minority, sentencing him to life imprisonment for the killing a five-year-old girl. This was the first time that a court convicted an ISIS follower for a crime of genocide against the Yazidi people. Al-Jumailly’s wife, a German national, was earlier sentenced to 10 years for related crimes. (Jurist)

  3. German court finds ISIS member guilty of enslaving Yazidi woman

    The Higher Regional Court of Koblenz convicted 37-year-old German citizen and former Islamic State member Nadine K. on June 21 of unlawfully possessing weapons of war and keeping a 22-year-old Yazidi woman as a “household slave”Ā in Iraq. Nadine K was sentenced to nine years imprisonment. (Jurist)

  4. German court confirms conviction for enslaving Yazidi woman

    A German court affirmed the conviction of ISIS member “Jennifer W.”Ā for aiding and abetting in committing crimes against humanity when she abused a five-year-old girl from the Yazidi religious minority, according to a press release from human rights organization Yazda. In addition to affirming her conviction, the Higher Regional Court of Munich also increased her prison sentence from 10 to 14 years. Jennifer’s surname is abbreviated due to German legal protections against the disclosure of her fullĀ name. (Jurist)