UN researchers identify 160 members of the Islamic State responsible for the Yazidi massacres

Victims are willing to “relive hell” to hold them accountable


The United Nations special team investigating the crimes committed by the jihadist group Islamic State has said Tuesday that the investigations have so far identified 160 people responsible for attacks against the Yazidi community in the Iraqi area of ​​Sinyar.

In an appearance before the Security Council, the head of the UN Investigation Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Islamic State (UNITAD), Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, has indicated that this group of people are the ” primary research objectives. ”

UN researchers identify 160 members of the Islamic State responsible for the Yazidi massacres
UN researchers identify 160 members of the Islamic State responsible for the Yazidi massacres

“All communities, whether they are Chabaqui, Shiite, Christian, Turkmen or Yazidi, have suffered brutality and immoral acts of Islamic State and their voices must be heard in our efforts to hold those responsible accountable,” he said.

Thus, he has stressed that “the experiences and needs of the survivors of Islamic State crimes and the families of the victims are firmly at the center of the UNITAD mission”, before stating that there is a “responsibility” for ” honor their strength and keep the promise “to bring those responsible to justice.

Khan has referred to his visit last week to a camp for internally displaced people in the town of Dohuk and highlighted the “lesson of humility” that was meant for him “the immeasurable strength of women and girls” with whom he spoke.

“Despite suffering kidnappings, slavery and unspeakable treatment, they were willing to return to those memories to help make those responsible for abuse accountable,” he said. “They were willing to relive hell on Earth,” he added.

On the other hand, he has applauded the “exemplary” support of the Iraqi Government for the work of UNITAD and noted that “third countries” are collaborating in the investigations. “Several states have indicated that this support could be valuable in supporting their legal proceedings in their respective countries,” he argued.


Khan has also emphasized the need for greater involvement of the international community. “The recent renewal of our mandate represents a reaffirmation of this Council that it is not enough that we condemn barbarism and depravity of the Islamic State,” he said.

“To give answers to the survivors, we must ensure that the individuals responsible for these crimes are held accountable personally,” said the head of UNITAD.

In this line, the representative of Iraq has expressed himself before the Council, Mohamed Husein Bahr al Ulum, who has applauded the renewal of the mandate of the investigative team and stressed that Baghdad needs international support in terms of reconstruction, procedures against those responsible for crimes of war and avoid new attacks.

“Those responsible must be brought before the Iraqi Justice. We must turn the page as soon as possible,” he argued, before stating that the investigation work should be carried out respecting the sovereignty of the country and its jurisdiction over crimes committed in its territory.


Kachi Amo Saló, a Yazidi resident in Sinyar who survived the massacres in the city of Kocho, located for days by jihadists before carrying out his massacre, has appeared before the UN Security Council.

“I survived by God's will to be a witness,” he said, before describing that he managed to escape from a bunch of corpses among which were three of his brothers, as well as cousins ​​and nephews.

His stepmother was also executed along with 70 women who were shot or burned alive, while his wife and daughters were turned into slaves and sold. Also, his three-month-old daughter died of hunger and thirst.

“I can still hear my wife and daughters screaming when the members of the Islamic State terrorist group took them away,” he said, before thanking the UN for creating UNITAD and giving him a mandate to investigate the crimes of jihadists.

“The meaning of this is not limited to the Yazidi community, but to many communities that have been affected by the crimes of Islamic State throughout Iraq,” said Saló, who has asked UNITAD to continue listening to personal experiences. of the victims and their families.


UNITAD started in March the exhumation of bodies in mass graves found in the town of Kocho. “The evidence suggests that hundreds of Kocho residents … were killed by Islamic State fighters in August 2014, while more than 700 women and children were kidnapped,” the team said.

Thus, he stressed that “it is believed that women and girls over the age of nine were forced into situations of sexual slavery, in which they suffered a large number of rapes, while children over the age of seven were forcedly recruited and were forced to fight in the ranks of Islamic State. ”

The jihadists murdered and kidnapped more than 9,000 members of the Yazidi community, in what the United Nations has described as a campaign of genocide against it. Community leaders have pointed out that about 3,000 people are still missing.

Among the survivors of the killings in Kocho is activist Nadia Murad, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, who recently advocated “Nuremberg Trials” for detained jihadists.

Murad, who was kidnapped in 2014 by the jihadists and turned into a sex slave, managed to flee and has become one of the main voices of the Yazidi community in his complaint against the atrocities committed by the jihadist group.


The Yazidi community has been dispersed in several camps for displaced people in Iraq, mainly in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, since the jihadists stormed in 2014 in what were their ancestral lands in the country.

The community had about half a million members before 2014, of which some 300,000 currently live in the aforementioned camps. The Sinyar area, the scene of a dispute between the Government and the Kurdish authorities and which hosts several Kurdish armed groups, has not yet been rebuilt.

Yazidism is a minority religion that dates back to 2,000 BC and has its origins in Zoroastrianism, that is, it is based on the teachings of the Iranian prophet and reformer Zoroaster.

Community members believe in the seven angels in whose hands God entrusted the affairs of the world. But, for them, the most important is the one known as Melek Taus, also called the Peacock Angel, which for both Christians and Muslims represents the devil, Lucifer or Satan, so that the jihadists also considered them 'devil worshipers'.

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