UN Security Council prepares to file charges vs. IS militants over Yazidi killings


A U.N. investigative team has so far identified and is building a case against 160 known Islamic State militants accused of massacres of Yazidis in northern Iraq in 2014. The head of the team reported to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday.

The investigative team, created by the U.N. Security Council, started work a year ago to collect and preserve evidence for future prosecution of acts by Islamic State in Iraq that may be war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

“In relation to the Yazidi community alone, the crimes that targeted them, we have identified over 160 perpetrators of massacres against the Yazidis … and we’re focusing our work to build solid cases hopefully in relation to each of those that may be presented to domestic courts,” said KarimAsad Ahmad Khan, head of the team.

U.N. experts warned in June 2016 that Islamic State was committing genocide against the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to destroy the minority religious community through killings, sexual slavery and other crimes.

Islamic State militants consider the Yazidis to be devil-worshippers. The Yazidi faith has elements of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam.

Nadia Murad, who won the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, and human rights lawyer Amal Clooney played a key role in pushing for the U.N. investigative team. Murad is a Yazidi woman who was enslaved and raped by Islamic State fighters in 2014.

Islamic State overran the Yazidi faith’s heartland of Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014, forcing young women into servitude as “wives” for its fighters and massacring men and older women. (Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation)