Global Justice Center Urges International Criminal Court to Investigate ISIS’s Genocide against Yazidi Women and Girls

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The Global Justice Center sends a briefing to the ICC asking them to open an investigation of genocide committed by ISIS against the Yazidi, and to look specifically at gender crimes committed against women and girls. The briefing was sent in conjunction with Nadia Murad Basee Taha, an ISIS survivor's testimony before the UN Security Council and in support of Yazidi organizations.

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Nadia Murad Basee Taha, a Yazidi woman held captive by ISIS, testifies before the UN Security Council.

"They used rape as a means of destruction," says Murad Basee of her time being held captive by ISIS, "ensuring these women will never return to a normal life."

As many as 3,000 Yazidi girls and women are being held captive by ISIS today. Yazidi survivors of captivity describe repeated rapes, forcible impregnation, forced abortion and being used as sex slaves.

The Global Justice Center (GJC), an international human rights organization, has filed a briefing urging the International Criminal Court (ICC), to open a preliminary examination of ISIS’s crimes against the Yazidi as genocide and to pay particular attention to the non-killing genocidal crimes committed against girls and women. Despite extensive documentation of genocide against the Yazidis in Iraq, efforts to end the genocide and ensure accountability are stalled.

“Failing to treat ISIS’s crimes against the Yazidis as genocide greatly harms Yazidi victims, particularly women and children who have special protections under the Genocide Conventions,” said Global Justice Center, President Janet Benshoof.

GJC’s filing with the ICC Office of the Prosecutor supports a September 2015 request made by Yazda and the Free Yezidi Foundation that the ICC open a preliminary examination of genocide and other crimes against the Yazidis. Both groups are supporting Yazidi’s affected by ISIS, like Nadia Murad Besse who was held captive by ISIS and forced to marry an ISIS fighter before managing to escape.

“The militants of ISIS attacked our areas and we found ourselves faced with a brutal genocide,” said Murad Besse before the UN Security Council last week “These large groups of armed men of various nationalities had decided that the Yazidis were infidels and had to be eradicated.”

Murad Besse witnessed the killing of a group of Yazidi men, including six of her biological and step-brothers; she was then taken and enslaved with some 150 other Yazidi women and girls. “ISIS had one intention, to destroy the Yazidi identity by force, rape, recruitment of children, and destruction of holy sites they captured, especially against the Yazidi woman where they used rape as a means of destruction, ensuring these women will never return to a normal life.”

Benshoof concludes, “Every time genocide occurs the international community promises “never again” and yet we continue to fail victims of a genocide occurring right now. The women and girls suffering at the hands of ISIS don’t need justice twenty years from now. They need it now.”

GJC’s letter to the prosecutor can be viewed and downloaded here.

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Stephanie Olszewski
Global Justice Center
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