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Irak Mossul Jesiden Flüchtlinge Frauen
Image: picture-alliance/AA/E. Yorulmaz

UN suspects IS of genocide

March 19, 2015

A UN report has accused the "Islamic State" of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Iraqi forces may also have committed war crimes while battling IS.


Islamic State (IS) fighters are suspected of committing genocide against Iraq's Yazidi minority community, the United Nations human rights office said Thursday.

The Islamic State terror militia "may have committed all three of the most serious international crimes - namely war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide," the UN human rights office said in a statement.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights released a report based on interviews with more than 100 alleged victims and witnesses documenting a multitude of crimes committed by IS, including killings, torture, rape, sexual slavery and recruiting child soldiers. The report urged the UN Security Council to refer the case against IS to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

Iraqi forces fighting IS "may also have committed some war crimes" in battling the militants, the report said.

The UN launched its investigation after IS seized large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria this past September.

'Attempt to destroy this community'

The Yazidis follow a religion which includes elements of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. The ultra-conservative Sunni IS militants consider them to be subhuman devil worshipers.

Jesidische Flüchtlinge im Irak 20.08.2014
Yazidis have suffered immeasurably at the hands of ISImage: picture-alliance/abaca/Depo Photos

The report found "a manifest pattern of attacks" by IS militants on Yazidis as well as Christians and other minority groups. It also cited allegations of chemical weapons use, rape, and cruel punishments including stoning and amputation.

"Thirteen teenage boys were sentenced to death for watching a football match," the report said.

An Amnesty International report found hundreds of Yazidi woman and girls to have suffered torture, rape, and other forms of sexual violence at the hands of IS.

"The systematic abuse of girls and women, both Yazidis and, to a lesser extent, Christian and Shiite women, is of course also a targeted attempt to destroy this community," said Thomas von der Osten-Sacken, chief executive of the Iraqi-German human rights association WADI, in an interview with DW.

In Yazidi society, "what is perceived as honor is very strongly attached to girls and women and their purity, to destroy this honor, and quite simply to crush these families," Von der Osten-Sacken said.

Iranian-backed Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militia groups are currently fighting to take back the Iraqi city of Tikrit from IS.

bw/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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