Nadia Murad discusses holding ISIS accountable with France’s FM

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Nadia Murad, a UN Goodwill Ambassador and ISIS survivor, met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris ISIS to talk about the future of the Yezidi community in Shingal as well as methods to hold alleged ISIS perpetrators accountable.

“They also discussed the role of French Government in regards to legal side and their cooperation with U.K. Government and U.N. in regards to holding those perpetrators accountable,” read a summary of the Friday meeting from Yazda, a US-based non-governmental organization that advocates for Yezidis.

Murad, a native from the village of Kocho along with other Yazda staff, updated Drian on the situations facing displaced Yezidis, as well as “the importance of the international protection in order to prevent future genocides against Yazidis and other minorities.”

The French government promised it will dedicate some projects to rebuilding the Shingal area, while “urging the Iraqi government to provide the basic services in those areas,” according to the Yazda statement.

Drian’s office confirmed the meeting on Friday, but did not provide any further details.

Murad, 22, is one of more than 5,000 Yezidi women who were kidnapped and enslaved by the ISIS.

As ISIS militants have largely been killed or captured and hold just 10 percent of the territories they once did in Iraq, Yezidis and other minority groups persecuted by the extremists are demanding justice for captured members.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari sent a letter to the United Nations on August 9 asking for assistance in documenting ISIS war crimes and holding members accountable in accordance with Iraqi law.

The United Kingdom then submitted a draft UN resolution that read only ISIS members would be the focus of the war crimes probe.

“I am grateful to Iraqi Prime Minister Mr. [Haider al-] Abadi and to the United Kingdom for initiating the first step to establish an international mechanism to investigate ISIS and hold them accountable,” Murad, responded later in August. “Victims deserve a meaningful accountability mechanism in which they trust, and I hope that the Security Council resolution will reflect that.”

Around 3,000 Yezidis — women, men and children — are still believed to be held by ISIS.

Many Yezidi activists believe their path to justice can be achieved internationally.

Prisons and a court have been set up in the northern Iraqi city of Qaraqosh (also called Al-Hamdaniya or Bakhdida) near Mosul.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported it was told by a senior judge in July that “the court was working through about 2,000 cases involving people suspected of being ISIS members or affiliated with the group.”

A BBC correspondent recently visited the court and reported there are usually “at least 50 hearings a day.” The reporter observed the case of a man claiming he was “just a cook”

Other groups who faced killings, violence, and forced displacement included the Turkmen, Christians, Shiite Muslims, Kakai, and Shabak Kurds.

The totality of the atrocities committed by ISIS against Yezidis and other minorities is not yet completely quantifiable, and the quick court decisions and lack of coordination between Erbil, Baghdad, NGOs such as Yazda, and the international community make “justice” hard to quantify for the suspects and the victims.

Rudaw English, in its extensive Justice After ISIS series, was told by a legal expert it is unlikely a body like the International Criminal Court (ICC) would oversee such a process because the ICC’s investigation would not be limited in scope. All Iraqis could be subject to war crimes investigations.

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