UNITED NATIONS — The head of a U.N. workforce investigating atrocities in Iraq introduced Monday it has discovered “clear and compelling evidence” that Islamic State extremists committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014 and mentioned the militant group efficiently developed chemical weapons and used mustard gasoline.
Karim Khan advised the Security Council the workforce additionally concluded warfare crimes had been committed by the Islamic State group against predominantly Shiite unarmed cadets and personnel from the Tikrit Air Academy who had been captured, tortured and subjected to mass execution in June 2014. He mentioned an Islamic State video launched in July 2015 exhibiting the killings “constitutes a direct and public incitement to commit genocide against Shia Muslims.”
The Security Council voted unanimously in September 2017 to ask the U.N. to determine an investigative workforce to assist Iraq protect proof and promote accountability for what “may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide” committed by Islamic State extremists, each in Iraq and the Levant, which incorporates Syria.
In his sixth report back to the council, Khan mentioned the U.N. Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes committed by the Islamic State group, also referred to as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS, quickly expanded the quantity of proof it has within the final six months.
He mentioned “significant developments” in amassing forensic proof from mass grave websites, digital knowledge extracted from arduous drives that belonged to the IS group, digitization of case recordsdata, and use of superior technological instruments to course of and search databases has allowed the workforce “to establish clear timelines of activities of key ISIL members.”
Khan referred to as it “a landmark moment” that the workforce, often called UNITAD, had established convincing proof that Islamic State extremists committed genocide “against the Yazidi as a religious group” with the intent “to destroy the Yazidi physically and biologically.”
This was manifest within the IS ultimatum utilized to all Yazidis “to convert or die” and led to hundreds killed, “either executed en masse, shot as they fled, or dying from exposure on Mount Sinjar as they tried to escape,” Khan mentioned. “Thousands more were enslaved, with women and children abducted from their families and subjected to the most brutal abuses, including serial rape and other forms of unendurable sexual violence” that for a lot of lasted years, “often leading to death.”
Khan added that crimes against the Yazidis proceed, with hundreds of girls and youngsters separated from their households or lacking and a few nonetheless with their their IS captors or these to whom they had been offered.
In 2016, the U.N.-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria said the Islamic State group was committing genocide against Yazidis, and several other non-governmental organizations have echoed that conclusion.
But Khan mentioned what UNITAD has completed when it comes to the Yazidis is extra essential as a result of the workforce was mandated to have a look at quite a lot of proof that might arise in court docket the place the burden of proof is on the prosecution — “and to not just draw brush strokes from a survey of victims.”
He mentioned data from digital gadgets that belonged to IS extremists additionally led UNITAD to open a brand new investigation “into the development and successful deployment of chemical and biological weapons by ISIL in Iraq.”
Evidence collected by UNITAD particulars how the militant group used laboratories at Mosul University “as the epicenter of its chemical weapons program, drawing on the expertise of scientists and medical professionals from Iraq and abroad,” Khan mentioned.
Initially, he mentioned, IS weaponized chlorine from water therapy vegetation captured by its fighters in 2014, and subsequently developed “toxic lethal compounds including thallium and nicotine that were tested on live prisoners, leading to death.”
IS then developed a system to supply mustard gasoline, additionally referred to as sulfur mustard, “that was deployed in March 2016 through the firing of 40 rockets at the Turkmen Shia town of Taza Khurmatu,” Khan mentioned.
Khan, who will grow to be chief prosecutor on the International Criminal Court on June 15, mentioned this investigation is quickly progressing, with preliminary outcomes anticipated to be accomplished inside 5 months. By the top of the yr, he mentioned, the workforce additionally anticipates preliminary outcomes “addressing crimes against minority Christians, Kaka’i, Shabak, Shia Turkmen and Sunni communities in Iraq, as well as the massacre of predominantly Shia inmates at Badush prison.”
Khan mentioned the following step is to make use of the knowledge and proof collected by UNITAD “to meet the expectations of survivors” and put it earlier than nationwide courts to prosecute these answerable for these “horrific crimes.”
He expressed hope that Iraqi legislators will undertake a authorized foundation to prosecute IS members for warfare crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. He welcomed laws offered to Parliament within the Kurdistan area final week to determine a court docket with jurisdiction over worldwide crimes committed by IS.
“We must make sure that we don’t become this archive, this library,” Khan mentioned of the workforce’s proof.
He mentioned each member of the worldwide group ought to “feel this sense of urgency” for justice as if their very own mom, father or baby had misplaced their life or was not accounted for.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Nadia Murad, a Yazidi compelled into sexual slavery by IS fighters who killed her mom and 6 brothers, urged the Security Council to refer the genocide against her folks to the International Criminal Court or set up a court docket to prosecute these answerable for the atrocities.
“I ask you to start a new chapter — legal accountability for ISIS crimes would dramatically impact every action of my community’s recovery,” she mentioned. “It is time for the international community to do, more than listen. It is time to act. If world leaders have the political will to act on this evidence, then justice is truly within reach.”