Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – Euronews reported, Seven years on from a genocide that killed an estimated 10,000 Yazidi people in northern Iraq, European countries are grappling with how to prosecute those responsible for some of the worst atrocities of the 21st century.
In early August 2014 in Sinjar province, members of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group began murdering men who refused to convert to Islam and leaving their bodies in unmarked mass graves, according to the United Nations.
“Thousands were killed pursuant to this ultimatum, either executed en masse, shot as they fled, or dying from exposure on Mount Sinjar as they tried to escape,” said Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, head of a UN team probing ISIS crimes.
“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. For many, this abuse lasted years, often leading to death.”
An estimated 7,000 Yazidi women and girls, some as young as nine, were enslaved and forcibly
To date, proceedings in France, Germany, Latvia, and the Netherlands have been issued against ISIS or other extremist militants on terrorism charges.
Germany has been leading the way in prosecuting ISIS members for specific crimes committed against Yazidis.
More than 1,200 German citizens are estimated to have joined ISIS, including ‘Sarah O.’ who travelled from Germany to Syria in 2013 to join the terror group. In Syria, she married ‘Ismail S’, another German national who remains wanted by authorities in Germany.
Over a two-year period from 2015-2017, the couple bought and enslaved seven Yazidi women and girls. The Yazidis were abused by the couple and one 14-year-old girl died while in captivity.
In June 2021, a German court convicted Sarah O. of membership in a foreign terrorist organisation i.e. ISIS, assault, deprivation of liberty, aiding and abetting rape, enslavement and religious and gender-based persecution as crimes against humanity.
“Each survivor deserves to see their abuser held accountable and their suffering acknowledged in a court of law,” said Nadia Murad in a statement following the conviction of Omaima A. for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity in the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg on 26 July 2021.