UN: DAESH committing genocide against Yazidis

Published 17.06.2016 00:22

DAESH is committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the religious community of 400,000 people through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes, United Nations investigators said on Thursday. Their report, based on interviews with dozens of survivors, said that the militants had been systematically rounding up Yazidis in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, seeking to "erase their identity" in a campaign that met the definition of the crime as defined under the 1948 Genocide Convention. "The genocide of the Yazidis is ongoing," it said. The 40-page report, entitled "They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes against the Yazidis", sets out a legal analysis of DAESH intent and conduct aimed at wiping out the Kurdish-speaking group, whom the Sunni Muslim Arab militants view as infidels and "devil-worshippers".The Yazidis are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. "The finding of genocide must trigger much more assertive action at the political level, including at the (U.N.) Security Council," Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the commission of inquiry, told a news briefing. Commission member Vitit Muntarbhorn said it had "detailed information on places, violations and names of the perpetrators", and had begun sharing information with some national authorities seeking to prosecute foreign fighters. The four independent commissioners urged major powers to rescue at least 3,200 women and children still held by DAESH and to refer the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

"DAESH made no secret of its intent to destroy the Yazidis of Sinjar, and that is one of the elements that allowed us to conclude their actions amount to genocide," said another investigator, Carla del Ponte. "Of course, we regard that as a road map for prosecution, for future prosecution. I hope that the Security Council will do it because it is time now to start to obtain justice for the victims," added del Ponte, a former U.N. war crimes prosecutor. DAESH, which has proclaimed a theocratic caliphate, based on a radical interpretation of religious jurisprudence, in areas of Iraq and Syria under its control, systematically killed, captured or enslaved thousands of Yazidis when it overran the town of Sinjar in northern Iraq in August 2014.

The report mentions cases of boys over 7 years of old captured, taken from their families and indoctrinated, pointing to one instance of a boy being brainwashed by a DAESH commander and ordered to kill his own father. It described DAESH fighters treating women as chattel, with some women being bought and sold a dozen times.

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