[JURIST] Mass graves in Iraq are being disturbed [HRW report], which could lead to destroyed evidence in proving possible genocide committed against the Yazidi, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] report released on Saturday. Dozens of Yazidi people are believed to have been killed by the Islamic State (IS), actions many believe may amount to genocide. Yazda [advocacy website], a support group for the Yezidi people, also contributed to the report. Yazda has said that on numerous visits to Mount Sinjar, they have observed mass graves that were completely unprotected and say that people regularly take items from these sites. In one instance, a bulldozer was used at one site to cover the grave with earth. HRW is urging authorities in Iraq to have forensic experts analyze the graves for evidence of any possible crimes and to preserve any evidence found.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has perpetrated war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. In December, Iraqi government officials ordered Turkey to withdraw [JURIST report] hundreds of troops deployed near Mosul, the largest city currently controlled by IS militants. Iraqi President Fouad Massoum stated that the deployment was a "violation of international norms and law" and may be considered a hostile act. In November, IS claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 120 individuals. That same month, President Obama ordered [JURIST report] an assessment of whether intelligence reports from US Central Command were changed before formal submission to present a more optimistic picture of the American military campaign against the IS. In September members of Iraq's Yazidi community met with International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and urged the court to open a genocide investigation [JURIST report] into IS actions in Northern Iraq. Also in September France launched its first airstrikes [JURIST report] against an IS training camp in Syria and acknowledged that combating IS is now the main objective in both Iraq and Syria.