Confronting ISIS Atrocities
Content by: South-South News
14 March 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — Yazidi genocide survivor Nadia Murad asked “what more” the international community needed to hear “before you will act” and bring ISIL to justice for its crimes. She called on the Iraqi Government and the United Nations to establish an investigation and give all the victims of ISIL the justice they deserve.
Speaking at a high-level event on March 9 on bringing Da’esh (ISIS) to justice, Murad said she was physically and mentally tired adding that she put her family in danger every time she spoke. She expressed her disappointment that her words would not make the international community move and wondered if there was “even a point” in continuing her campaign against the terrorist group. Murad said Yazidi children were being brainwashed by Da’esh to carry out suicide missions and many more would fall victim to this practice unless they were saved. She said she was told that the UN was waiting for a letter by the Iraqi government to launch an investigation into ISIL’s atrocities and victims had patiently waited two years for justice.
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney said all the officials she spoke to over the past few months have supported the idea of a UN investigation established by the Security Council with Iraqi cooperation. She said a draft resolution to do just that was presented to Iraq and would require a letter from the government to put the draft to the vote; but this has not happened so far. Clooney said mass graves were unprotected and exhumed, witnesses were fleeing, and not one ISIS militant faced trial for international crimes anywhere in the world. She stressed that the UN was created “as the world’s way of saying never again to the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis, and yet here we are 70 years later discussing the UN’s inaction in the face of a genocide that we all know about and that is ongoing.”
Clooney reiterated her call on the international community to change course on bringing ISIS to justice, adding that “history will judge us and there will be no excuse for our failure to act.” She said conflicts throughout the world have proven that there could be no lasting peace without justice and killing ISIS on the battle field was not enough. She said the international community must kill the idea of ISIS by exposing the group’s brutality and bringing individuals to justice.
Clooney called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi to send the letter to the Security Council requesting an investigation into ISIS’s crimes. She said taking action in this direction would “silence those who doubt” his commitment to bring ISIS to justice. The human rights lawyer said if this road to accountability through the Security Council was blocked, UN member states “must take the initiative to secure accountability” in other ways available to them under the UN Charter. She called on them not to “let this be another Rwanda where you regret doing too little too late.”
The UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Zainab Bangura, said Iraqi government officials expressed to her during a recent visit to the country that justice for the victims of ISIS was an “exceptionally high priority” for them. She said Iraqi authorities stressed the need for international support to help construct a judicial process for ISIS’s crimes adding that the entire United Nations system “has to respond to this request.” She stressed that the international community could not “call for accountability for Da’esh without supporting the Iraqi Government to insure that it has the capacity and the expertise it requires for such a significant undertaking.”