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Yazidis Seek Justice Against ISIS at the International Criminal Court

Yazidi victims of the Islamic State in Sinjar, northern Iraq have filed a genocide case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Netherlands.

“We have strong evidence in hand which will help recognize the Shingal case as genocide, “ declared Judge Aiman Mustaffa, head of the investigation and witnesses for the case.

Rudaw reports that Falah Mustafa, head of the Kurdistan Region’s Foreign Relations Department, sent and filed the document to the ICC. The case consists of “[H]undreds of official files” and “more evidence continues to come in.”

“The Shingal case, with 59 pages of documents, was filed and sent to the ICC over the past 25 months, and we await the investigations,” said Mustafa.

In September, former ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo said he is pushing for the ICC to open a case against ISIS.

“It’s a very clear case,” he told Reuters. “It’s an ongoing genocide because there are still people in captivity. It is up to us to provide information that allows the ICC to understand, yes, we have jurisdiction in this case in this way.”

However, the court “lacks jurisdiction over Iraq because its government is not a signatory of the treaty that established tribunal.” But the ICC could investigate any individuals “of one of its 123 member countries.”

Yazidis have been urging the ICC to launch investigations into ISIS. Earlier this year, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the radical Islamic group did commit these crimes of “unspeakable cruelty,” but the “jurisdictional basis… is too narrow.” But a report names “some 20 foreign fighters from countries” connected to the ICC.

“It is abhorrent that such despicable crimes should be inflicted upon innocent civilians anywhere on Earth,” said Murad Ismael, a member of the Yazda group. “The Yezidi community has been shattered by the sick crimes of ISIS terrorists who sought to annihilate the Yazidis on the basis of their religious distinctiveness.”

ISIS stormed into Yazidi communities over the summer of 2014. The terrorists slaughtered the men in front of the others and kidnapped the females for sex slavery. Those who managed to escape flowed into the Sinjar Mountains without any food or water.

“We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar,” said human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani at the time. “Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar.”

“In some of the images we have obtained there are lines of dead Yazidis who have been shot in the head while the Islamic State fighters cheer and wave their weapons over the corpses,” he said. “This is a vicious atrocity.”

CNN’s Ivan Watson flew with Iraqi air forces to drop aid to the Yazidis. The helicopter managed to rescue 20 people.

“We landed on several short occasions, and that’s where – amid this explosion of dust and chaos – these desperate civilians came racing towards the helicopter, throwing their children on board the aircraft. The crew was just trying to pull up as many people as possible,” he said.

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