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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN Team Says Islamic State Committed Genocide Against Yazidis

By VOA News May 10, 2021

The Islamic State terrorist group committed genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq, a U.N. team said Monday.

The investigators called the evidence of genocide "clear and convincing," according to Karim Khan, who leads the team and added that it had identified the perpetrators "that clearly have responsibility for the crime of genocide against the Yazidi community."

The U.N. team says it has identified 1,444 potential perpetrators.

Khan, a British attorney, is expected to become the International Criminal Court prosecutor in the case next month.

He said the Islamic State tried "to destroy the Yazidi, physically and biologically" and threatened many different Yazidi villages with the ultimatum to "convert or die."

"Evidence collected by the team had also confirmed ISIL was responsible for acts of extermination, murder, rape, torture, enslavement, persecution and other war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Yazidis," he said, using another acronym for the group.

Islamic State militants considered the Yazidis to be devil worshippers, as their religion combines parts of several ancient Middle Eastern religions.

Based on the U.N.'s findings, Nadia Murad, an Iraqi Yazidi woman who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State, asked the U.N. Security Council on Monday to refer the case to the International Criminal Court.

"International tribunals are needed to address the universal magnitude of ISIL crimes against humanity," said Murad, who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize.

"We asked you to refer this genocide to the ICC or establish a court by treaty. It is time for the international community to do more. It is time to act," she added.

During 2014, IS rampaged through the Yazidi heartland in northern Iraq. In many cases, they forced young women into sex slavery. Many in the Yazidi community, which numbers more than half a million, were displaced.

In 2016, a U.N. commission declared the IS treatment of the Yazidis inside Syria as a genocide.

"Evidence has been found, but we are still searching for the political will to prosecute," Muran said.

IS was defeated in Iraq in 2017, but the U.N. says the group left behind more than 200 mass graves that could contain up to 12,000 victims.

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