Yazidis urge ICC to open probe into IS atrocities

The Hague, Sep 24: Iraq's Yazidi minority -- the target of brutal attacks by the Islamic State group -- today urged the International Criminal Court to investigate the militants for genocide and sexual slavery.

Two Yazidi groups handed the court a new report and documents, which show "that ISIS has systematically committed atrocities amounting to genocide and that these crimes fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC," said Murad Ismael of the Yazidi rights organisation Yazda.


Earlier this year, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the IS group, which is sometimes referred to as ISIS or ISIL, had committed crimes of "unspeakable cruelty" including mass executions, rape and torture. But she said she could not investigate as neither Iraq nor Syria are signatories to the court and her "jurisdictional basis... is too narrow."

The report, however, specifically names some 20 foreign fighters from countries who have signed the ICC's founding Rome Statute. A Kurdish-speaking minority mostly based around Sinjar mountain in northern Iraq, the Yazidis are neither Arabs nor Muslims and have a unique faith which Islamic State militants consider to be heretical and polytheistic.

In August 2014, the jihadists made an unexpected push into areas of northern Iraq that had been under Kurdish control and were home to many of the country's minorities. Worst-hit were the Yazidis, who were massacred and abducted in large numbers when IS entered the Sinjar area. Tens of thousands scrambled up Mount Sinjar in a panic and remained stranded there for days with no food nor water.


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