In Germany, a historic first conviction for genocide committed against the Yazidis

Iraqi jihadist Taha Al-Jumailly covers his face during his trial in Frankfurt (Germany) on November 30, 2021.

This is a historic verdict for the Yazidi community and a world precedent in the recognition of the genocide committed against its members in Iraq and Syria by the fighters of the Islamic State (IS) organization from 2014. Tuesday, November 30, the judges of the High Regional Court in Frankfurt, Germany, sentenced Taha Al-Jumailly, a 29-year-old Iraqi jihadist, to life imprisonment after finding him “guilty of genocide, a crime against humanity resulting in death, war crimes and complicity in war crimes ”against this Kurdish-speaking minority.

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The Iraqi man, who joined IS in 2013, was sentenced for having, in the summer of 2015 in Fallujah, Iraq, left a 5-year-old Yazidi girl to die of thirst, along with his mother, “Bought as a slave”, according to the prosecution. For this package, the ex-wife of the jihadist, Jennifer Wenisch, 30, was sentenced to ten years in prison in October for “crime against humanity resulting in the death” of the child.

” Message of hope “

“This is a very important step and a message of hope for the Yazidi victims and the victims of genocide in general. It shows that justice can be done, even if that is not where the crimes were committed. It is important for the victims to access justice, beyond the symbolic recognition of the genocide: they want to be able to look their attackers in the eye ”, welcomes Natia Navrouzov, lawyer and member of the NGO Yazda, which gathers the evidence of the crimes committed by the IS against the Yazidis.

In August 2014, ISIS launched an offensive in the Sinjar region of northern Iraq and committed mass crimes against the Yazidi community, executing thousands of men and enslaving women. sexual. More than 2,800 Yazidi women and children are still missing.

Germany, home to a large Yazidi diaspora, is one of the few countries to take legal action against IS abuses

The United Nations, as well as several countries, have recognized the genocide committed against them, but no genocide conviction had been pronounced so far. Germany, where a large Yazidi diaspora lives, is one of the few countries to have taken legal action against the abuses committed by IS against this minority in the name of the principle of “Universal jurisdiction”, which allows a State to prosecute the perpetrators of the most serious offenses, even when they have been committed outside the national territory. Six sentences were pronounced by the German justice for crimes against humanity or complicity in crimes against humanity of men and women who had gone to the territories conquered by the IS, for facts related to the Yazidis.

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