UN report: Islamic State may be guilty of genocide, Iraq should join ICC

23 March 2015 by Karina Hof

The Islamic State (IS) is perpetuating heinous human rights violations in Iraq and members of the jihadist movement may be guilty of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, says a UN report released last week. Its author, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, recommends Iraq join the International Criminal Court and accept its jurisdiction “over the current situation”.

At a shelter for Yazidis refugees who fled IS attacks in Iraq, Mahoubet says the jihadist movement killed her husband and kidnapped her sister and daughter (Photo: Flickr/Caroline Gluck/EU/ECHO)
Image caption: 
At a shelter for Yazidis refugees who fled IS attacks in Iraq, Mahoubet says the jihadist movement killed her husband and kidnapped her sister and daughter (Photo: Flickr/Caroline Gluck/EU/ECHO)

That situation is graphically chronicled in the 51-page document, much recalling news headlines from August concerning the slaughter of Yezidis. The ethnic minority in northern Iraq practise a syncretic religion, reportedly leading IS to call them “devil-worshippers” and massacre those who refuse conversion – their deaths now estimated “in the thousands”.

Bullet point by bullet point, the commissioner outlines “killing” and “acts that caused [Yezidis] serious bodily or mental harm”, which could be considered underlying acts for genocide – defined as the whole or partial destruction of a racial, religious or ethnic group. Occurring between June 2014 and February 2015, the incidents detail men brought to ditches and “summarily executed”, “clear patterns of sexual and gender-based violence” and young escapees’ accounts of gun and rocket training and forced viewings of filmed beheadings. One youth described being told: “You will do this when you will go to jihad for the Islamic State; you are an Islamic State boy now.”

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