Karim Khan head of a U.N. team, UNITAD, investigating atrocities against Yazidis in Iraq told the UN Security Council that his team has found “clear and compelling evidence” that the Islamic State/Daesh committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014.
Investigator Khan who has been elected as the Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague told the Security Council in his 6th report to the council that the investigation had progressed rapidly in the last six months with his team gathering a lot of evidence from mass graves, digital evidence and data research linking suspects to the mass killings of Yazidis.
He said it was “a landmark moment” and that his team now had convincing evidence that ISIS/Daesh had committed a genocide against the Yazidis as a religous groups with the intent to destroy the Yazidis both physically and biologically.
This was evident in the threat applied to all Yazidis by ISIS “to convert or die” which led to thousands being killed, “either executed en masse, shot as they fled, or dying from exposure on Mount Sinjar as they tried to escape,” Khan said.
He added: “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 many years often leading to death.”
Khan, who takes up his new job as chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on June 15 said the investigation was progressing rapidly with final results expected in five months time.
In 2018 the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, appointed Karim Khan QC as the First Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Team investigating international crimes committed by ISIS (UNITAD). UNITAD was established by way of unanimous Security Council Resolution in 2017.
Yazidi representative Nadia Murad who lost her mother and six brothers to ISIS/Daesh also appealed for urgency to the Security Council in relation to bringing ISIS/Daesh to court to face prosecutors.
“I ask you to start a new chapter — legal accountability for ISIS crimes would dramatically impact every action of my community’s recovery,” she said. “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.”
The Security Council voted unanimously in September 2017 requesting that the United Nations investigate and preserve evidence of ISIS/Daesh war crimes in Iraq and Syria.