The US Holocaust Memorial Museum [website] voiced support [press release] for the Yazidi community [NYT backgrounder] in Iraq on Thursday and said that the Islamic State (IS) militants committed genocide against the Yazidi people. The atrocities witnessed by the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide [website] “Bearing Witness” team took place between June and August 2014 and are denounced [official report] as crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes against the Yazidi people and other minorities, including Christian, Turkmen, Shabak, Sabaean-Mandaean, and Kaka’i, in Northern Iraq. The Holocaust museum called for the implementation of an “atrocity prevention framework” in Iraq and placed priority on the release of the men, women and children who were kidnapped by IS militants and are still being held and subjected to atrocities.
The Islamic State (IS) [JURIST backgrounder], also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. In February UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein denounced [JURIST report] IS militant actions against Christians in Libya. In September members of Iraq’s Yazidi community met with the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in The Hague and urged [JURIST report] the court to open a genocide investigation in Northern Iraq. Also in September, France launched its first airstrikes against an IS training camp in Syria and acknowledged that combating IS is now the main objective in both Iraq and Syria.