Islamic State may have committed genocide and war crimes – UN monitor
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has committed atrocities that could amount to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, a United Nations monitor reported today.
An investigation team of the UN Human Rights Office found that ISIL has committed killings, torture, rape and sexual slavery, forced religious conversions and the conscription of children — which are usually seen as crimes against humanity and war crimes
It may also have committed genocide because “the manifest pattern of the attacks against the Yezidi pointed to the intent of ISIL to destroy the Yezidi as a group”.
The report cited the brutal and targeted killings of hundreds of Yezidi men and boys. “In numerous Yezidi villages, the population was rounded up. Men and boys over the age of 14 were separated from women and girls. The men were then led away and shot by ISIL, while the women were abducted as the ‘spoils of war’. In some instances, villages were entirely emptied of their Yezidi population.”
The chilling investigation added, “Some of the Yezidi girls and women who later escaped from captivity described being openly sold, or handed over as “gifts” to ISIL members. Witnesses heard girls – as young as six and nine years old – screaming for help as they were raped in a house used by ISIL fighters. One witness described how two ISIL members sat laughing as two teenage girls were raped in the next room. A pregnant woman, repeatedly raped by an ISIL ‘doctor’ over a period of two and a half months, said he deliberately sat on her stomach. He told her, ‘this baby should die because it is an infidel; I can make a Muslim baby’.”
Boys aged 8-15 were separated from their mothers and taken to locations in Iraq and Syria where they were forcibly converted to Islam and subjected to religious and military training, including how to shoot guns and fire rockets.
ISIL also dealt very brutally with other ethnic groups, including Christians, Kaka’e, Kurds, Sabea-Mandeans, Shia and Turkmen. Within days in June 2014, thousands of Christians fled their homes in fear after ISIL ordered them to convert to Islam, pay a tax, or leave.
Around 600 mostly Shia males held in a prison (Badoush) were loaded onto trucks and driven to a ravine, where they were shot by ISIL fighters. Survivors told the UN team that they were saved by other bodies landing on top of them.
ISIL massacred about 1,500 to 1,700 cadets from an army base (Speicher) on 12 June after most had surrendered.
The investigation team also received information alleging that Iraqi Security Forces and affiliated militia committed serious human rights violations during their counter-offensive operations against ISIL.
The team urged the UN Security Council to address, “in the strongest terms, information that points to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes”, and order legal action through the International Criminal Court.