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HomeWorldISIL Crimes Against Yazidis Constitute Genocide, UN Investigation Team Finds

ISIL Crimes Against Yazidis Constitute Genocide, UN Investigation Team Finds

A UN team investigating ISIL atrocities in Iraq
has established “clear and convincing evidence” of
genocide against the Yazidi religious minority, the Security
Council heard on Monday.

In his final
briefing to ambassadors, Karim Khan, Special Adviser and
Head of the team, known as UNITAD,
reported that investigators have reached a “landmark
moment” in their work.

They have finalized initial
case briefs on two key priorities: attacks against the
Yazidi community in the Sinjar region in northern Iraq, and
the mass killing of unarmed cadets and military personnel at
Tikrit Air Academy in June 2014.

“I am able to
announce that based upon independent and impartial
investigations, complying with international standards and
UN best practice, there is clear and convincing evidence
that the crimes against the Yazidi people clearly
constituted genocide,” he said.

‘Convert or

Mr Khan recalled that the crimes committed by
ISIL, also known as Daesh, “shocked the conscience of
humanity”, as manifested by the group’s ultimatum to
convert, or die.

“A full scope of criminality is
displayed in the awful criminality of Daesh against the
Yazidi community”, he said. “Executions, slavery, sexual
slavery. Crimes against children that are horrific, and
really chill one’s soul, that how on earth could such
things be allowed to happen. Yet they did.”

has supported the return of the remains of more than 100
Yazidis recovered from nine mass grave sites in the village
of Kojo.

Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, who was
kidnapped by ISIL, told ambassadors that her people had
experienced the worst atrocities known to

“I will never forget the grief in my
mother’s eyes when she realized her sons had been executed
– not knowing she would face the same fate”, Ms Murad

“I can still feel my niece’s hands being
ripped out of mine as we were separated and loaded onto
buses like cattle. And I can still calculate what my body
was worth to those who bought and sold

Chemical weapons capacity

brutality affected all communities in Iraq, as the incident
at the Tikrit Air Academy has also shown. The cadets, mainly
Shia Muslims, were led away and many were massacred. An ISIL
propaganda video of their murder was clear evidence of the
crime of direct and public incitement to commit genocide,
according to Mr Khan.

“One doesn’t even need to
look into the content of the video, though we’ve done that
and we’ve had language experts to analyze it,” he
stated. “But it’s by the title of the video that Daesh
broadcasted: Kill them wherever you find

Investigations have also revealed ISIL’s
“demonstrated capacity” to manufacture and deploy
chemical and biological weapons, focused on the group’s
takeover of Mosul University, in Iraq’s second city which
they occupied until the end of 2017.

ISIL attracted
combatants from the region and abroad. Drawing on the
expertise of scientists and medical professionals in its
ranks, the group began “weaponizing” chlorine from water
treatment plants, testing biological agents on prisoners,
and firing 40 mustard gas rockets on the Turkmen Shia town
of Taza Khurmatu.

Crimes must be prosecuted

Khan leaves UNITAD shortly, and next month assumes the post
of Prosecutor with the International
Criminal Court

UN teams in Iraq gathered a
“mountain” of information, including testimonies,
forensic evidence from mass grave sites and digital data
extracted from ISIL hard drives. Investigators have also
completed an initial case brief identifying individuals and
companies that provided financial services to

Meanwhile, work continues to ensure “no
victim, no child of humanity, is left behind”, Mr Khan
said, pointing to progress surrounding crimes targeting the
Sunni, Shia, Christian and other communities.

emphasized, however, that it was not sufficient to simply
document ISIL’s crimes, and UNITAD continues to support
developments towards legislation that will allow for ISIL
members to be prosecuted.

“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,” he

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