Tuesday, 21 June 2016

German Federal Foreign Office Press Release: "Human Rights Commissioner Kofler on IS crimes against the Yazidis"

On 17 June, Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement on the report published on 16 June by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Syria on IS crimes against the Yazidis:
I am deeply shocked by the heinous crimes committed by so‑called Islamic State against the Yazidis. The report published yesterday by the United Nations’ independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria reveals the full horror of IS’ barbaric crimes. The abduction and enslavement of thousands of women and girls, the systematic murder of men and boys, torture, sexual violence and the most inhuman treatment of the victims are dreadful testimonies of the war in Syria and Iraq.

I urgently call on all countries to charge those responsible for these and all other religiously, ethnically and politically motivated violence. The perpetrators of these repugnant crimes must be held accountable. The crimes committed by IS, whether in Syria or Iraq, must not go unpunished. I therefore call on the authorities in Iraq to do their utmost to uncompromisingly investigate the violence perpetrated by IS and other groups and to bring the perpetrators to trial.

We and other countries are also called upon to prosecute those responsible for the crimes committed in Syria and Iraq, using all of the legal instruments at our disposal. The people in Syria and Iraq are suffering untold pain. In the interest of the victims and their families, and of reconciliation in these strife‑torn societies, these crimes must urgently be dealt with before the law.

By conducting large numbers of interviews and taking witness statements, the United Nations’ Commission of Inquiry on Syria has produced shocking and detailed documentation of IS crimes. I would like to express my admiration for this work. The accusations against IS range from crimes against humanity to genocide of the Yazidis. We must not allow the unspeakable suffering of the Yazidis in Syria and Iraq to go unpunished.

Background information

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria published its report, “They Came to Destroy: ISIS Crimes Against the Yazidis”, on 16 June 2016. The report classifies the systematic murder, sexual enslavement, torture, forced resettlement and attempt to annihilate the Yazidis’ cultural identity as genocide. It also states that over 3000 Yazidi women and girls are still being held as slaves and several thousand male Yazidis are still missing in Syria.
The report by the Commission of Inquiry on Syria underlines the importance of prosecuting those responsible for these IS atrocities in national or international courts. The German Government therefore reiterates its call for the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.
The Federal Foreign Office and the German missions in Baghdad and Erbil are in constant contact with representatives of the Central Council of Yazidis and other Yazidi groups. Germany has taken in a large number of the Yazidis displaced by IS.