Bringing Daesh To Justice - A Real Action At Last?

In August 2017, Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Dr. Ibrahim al-Jaafari, wrote to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Antonio Guterres, asking for the assistance of the international community to bring Daesh to justice.

Dr. Al-Jaafari wrote: ‘we request assistance of the international community to get benefited from international expertise to criminalize Daesh terrorist entity. In this regard, the Republic of Iraq, and the United Kingdom are working on a draft resolution, in line with the Iraq’s national sovereignty and jurisdiction at both the negotiation and implementation stages of the resolution.’

The letter received a very positive reaction from the media, which praised Iraq for its proactive approach in bringing Daesh to justice. However, the praises may have been premature or ill-suited.

It was in 2014 when Daesh gained territories in Iraq and established its self-proclaimed caliphate. This was followed by reports of mass atrocities perpetrated by Daesh against religious minorities, most notably, against Yazidis in Sinjar on August 3, 2017, followed by an attack on Christians in Nineveh Plains a few days later.

Members of the Yazidi minority search for clues on February 3, 2015, that might lead them to missing relatives in the remains of people killed by Daesh, a day after Kurdish forces discovered a mass grave near the Iraqi village of Sinuni, in the northwestern Sinjar area. (Photo credit: SAFIN HAMED/AFP/Getty Images)

Daesh committed acts of ‘murder, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, severe deprivation of physical liberty, torture, rape, sexual slavery, sexual violence and persecution, committed as part of widespread or systematic attacks directed against civilian populations pursuant to or in furtherance of an organisational policy to commit such attacks.’ The atrocities had a common specific intention to destroy certain religious groups in the region, in whole or in part, and amount to genocide, the ‘crime of crimes’. Nonetheless, no Daesh fighter has ever been prosecuted for genocide.

In May 2016, the Iraqi Permanent Mission to the UN in New York urged the UN Security Council to ‘set up a specific international legal mechanism for investigating and bringing to justice the criminals of [Daesh].’ The oral request was not followed up.

In September 2016, the UK government, collaborating with the Iraqi and Belgian governments announced the establishment of a ‘Coalition to bring the Daesh to justice’. The coalition was intended to establish the best mechanism to prosecute Daesh fighters for the crimes they have committed in Iraq. Despite its best efforts, the coalition has not achieved a result in the subsequent months. In March 2017, during the follow-up meeting of the Coalition, Amal Clooney of Doughty Street Chambers representing Nadia Murad and other Yazidi victims of Daesh genocide, criticised the Iraqi government for failing to positively consider any of the proposals prepared by the Coalition. Still, there was no progress.

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(c) 2017 Forbes

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