Secretary of State John Kerry said this week he is seeking more evidence against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) to label their crimes genocide.
“I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there,” Kerry told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Assistance.
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) has sponsored a resolution to declare Islamic State crimes as genocide. H. Con. Res. 75 states:
Expressing the sense of Congress that those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka‘e, and Kurds, and who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, “war crimes”, “crimes against humanity”, and “genocide”.
Whereas those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka‘e, and Kurds, and who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, intend to exterminate or to force the migration or submission of anyone who does not share their views concerning religion;
“None of us have ever seen anything like it in our lifetimes,” Kerry admitted about the crimes, which include beheadings and throwing gay people from rooftops.
He also told the committee that his department reviews “very carefully the legal standards and precedents” in order to call crimes genocide.
“COMECE welcomes today’s European Parliament’s resolution as a significant step forward in facilitating measures to prevent the on-going incipient genocide against Christians and other minorities,” the bishops declared in a press release.
It is the “first time the body has recognized an ongoing conflict as a genocide.” The Parliament recommended that everyone “who intentionally commit[s] atrocities for ethnic or religious reasons should be brought to justice for violations against international law, crimes against humanity, and genocide.”
The Islamic State has slaughtered thousands of people as they have expanded their caliphate across Syria and Iraq. People and organizations have suggested calling their actions genocide, but as Christian Today suggests, no one took the final step, “with one fear being that it would oblige outside bodies and agencies to take stronger action against the terror group.”
“It’s really important that the Parliament passed it, on a political level and a moral level. The significance is the obligations that follow by such a recognition,” explained Lars Adaktusson, Swedish member of the parliament. “The collective obligation to intervene, to stop these atrocities and to stop the persecution in the ongoing discussion about the fight against the Islamic State.”
Last July, Pope Francis pleaded for the world to finally call the slaughter of thousands of Christians a genocide.
“Today we are dismayed to see how in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world many of our brothers and sisters are persecuted, tortured and killed for their faith in Jesus,” he insisted. “In this third world war, waged piecemeal, which we are now experiencing, a form of genocide is taking place, and it must end.”
The United Nations toyed with the idea that the group “may have committed” genocide and war crimes despite the overwhelming evidence.
Islamic State militants abducted 88 Eritrean Christians in Libya. They also beheaded 21 Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach, when one of the terrorists promised the group will conquer Rome. In July 2014, Andrew White, the vicar of the only Anglican church in Iraq, told BBC Radio 4 that Christianity is coming to an end in the Middle Eastern country.
Charity group Barnabas Fund reported the group has tortured and crucified thousands of Christians in Syria. The country has lost over two-thirds of its Christian population since 2011, leaving them with 250,000. Militants attacked Assyrian Christian towns in northern Syria where they burned churches and captured more than 200 Christians. No one knows their fate. They even burned alive an 80-year-old Christian woman.
“It’s overwhelming. Eighteen months ago we said we will demand action,” said Nuri Kino, director of A Demand for Action. “Today, we can say with pride that we, a team of volunteers from all over the world, worked around the clock to make this happen. Now our goal is the U.N. Security Council. Action must be taken.”