Geneva: Two years ago, in the early hours of 3 August 2014, ISIS fighters had left their bases and brutally attacked the Yazidis of Sinjar, a distinct religious group whose beliefs and practice span thousands of years.
An Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, in its report “They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”, released on 16 June 2016, underscored that ISIS has committed the crime of genocide, as well as multiple crimes against humanity and war crimes, against the Yazidis.
On the second anniversary of the initial attack, the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic stresses once more that crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidis, including the crime of genocide, are on-going.
Two years on, over 3,200 women and children are still held by ISIS and are subjected to almost-unimaginable violence. Most are in Syria where Yazidi women and girls continue to be sexually enslaved and Yazidi boys, indoctrinated, trained and used in hostilities. Thousands of Yazidi men and boys remain missing.
The Commission has called for a re-focus of attention not only on its findings, but also on its wide-ranging recommendations to the United Nations, the Government of Syria, and the wider international community concerning the rescue, protection of, and care for the Yazidi community. Chief among them is the recommendation to the Security Council that, as a matter of urgency, and in line with each State’s individual obligations under the Genocide Convention, it refer the situation to justice, to the International Criminal Court or an ad hoc tribunal with relevant geographic and temporal jurisdiction.
Ms. Nadia Murad, a survivor of the ISIS genocide, speaking at an event co-hosted by the Commission in Geneva on 24 June 2016, said, “We don’t need more speeches, we need justice.” She could not be more right. It is the responsibility of the United Nations, and the international community to take action to stop the on-going genocide, to care for its victims, and to bring those responsible to justice.
The Commission comprises Mr. Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro (Chair), Ms. Carla Del Ponte, Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, and Ms. Karen Koning AbuZayd. Its report “They Came To Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis” can be found on: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/CoISyria/A_HRC_32_CRP.2_en.pdf