UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern [official statement] for the human rights violations faced by the Yazidi minority in Northern Iraq on Wednesday, stating that actions of the Islamic State (IS) may amount to genocide. Two years ago the IS attacked the Sinjar area in Iraq killing nearly 5,000 individuals. The statement claims that 3,200 Yazidi women and children remain in captivity and are subjected to nearly unimaginable violence. The Secretary-General proclaimed these crimes may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide. The UN encouraged the Iraqi government to bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice with a fair trial and due process while supporting the survivors.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), have been accused of war crimes on a massive scale in Iraq and Syria. In March US Secretary of State John Kerry said [JURIST report] that IS “is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.” Also in March the US House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution [JURIST report] denouncing the actions of IS as “genocide” and called for the establishment of international and domestic tribunals by UN member states. In December Amnesty International said that IS is in possession of a “large and lethal” arsenal [JURIST report] due to decades of reckless arms trading and the poorly regulated international flow of weapons into Iraq. In November IS claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated attacks in Paris [JURIST report] that killed more than 120 individuals. 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.