IS committed genocide against Yazidis in Iraq: report

Yazidis, whose family was displaced by IS attacks, stand in their temporary home on Saturday in Zakho, in northern Iraq. “We believe the IS has been and is perpetrating genocide against the Yazidi people,” said a report by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's Simon-Skjodt Centre for the Prevention of Genocide..  

Islamic State (IS) militants committed genocide against Iraq’s Yazidis in the north of the country and carried out crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes against other minorities, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said on Thursday.

The crimes were committed against Christian, Yazidi, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean-Mandaean, and Kaka’i people in Nineveh province between June and August 2014, stated a report by the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Centre for the Prevention of Genocide.

‘Violence patterns raise concerns’

“We believe the IS has been and is perpetrating genocide against the Yazidi people,” the report said. “The IS’s stated intent and patterns of violence against Shia Shabak and Shia Turkmen also raise concerns about the commission and risk of genocide against these groups.”

The United Nations said in March that the IS may have committed genocide in trying to wipe out the Yazidi minority and urged the U.N. Security Council to refer the issue to the International Criminal Court for prosecution.

Captured large swathes in Iraq, Syria

Islamic State militants have seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. Both states are not members of the Hague-based court and so its prosecutor is unable to open an investigation unless a referral is made by the 15-member Security Council.

A U.S.-led coalition has been bombing IS targets in Syria and Iraq for more than a year.

IS militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The Yazidi faith has elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam. Most of the Yazidi population, numbering around half a million, remains displaced in camps inside the autonomous entity in Iraq’s north known as Kurdistan.

Many in captivity

Of around 5,000 Yazidi men and women captured by the militants in the summer of 2014, some 2,000 have managed to escape or been smuggled out of the IS’s self-proclaimed caliphate, activists say. The rest remain in captivity.

“Men, women, and children who were kidnapped and are still being held by the IS continue to be the victims of atrocity crimes. Their release must be a priority,” said the museum report.

The 1948 U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethical, racial or religious group.

The convention says this can be done by killing members, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members, deliberately inflicting conditions on the group calculated to bring about its physical destruction, preventing births within the group or forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 1:47:22 PM |

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