Germany, for the first time in the world, sentences an Iraqi jihadist to life imprisonment for Yazidi genocide
A Frankfurt court on Tuesday handed down a life sentence to an Iraqi who joined the Islamic State group for genocide against the Yazidi minority, in the first verdict worldwide to use the label.
Taha Al-Jumailly, 29, was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity resulting in death, war crimes, complicity in war crimes, and bodily injury resulting in death after joining the Islamic State in 2013.
The proceedings were suspended when the defendant fainted in court when the verdict was read.
The Yazidis, a Kurdish-speaking group from northern Iraq, have been hunted for years by Islamic State militants who have killed hundreds of men, raped women and forcibly recruited children as fighters.
In May, UN special investigators reported that they had gathered “clear and convincing evidence” of the IS genocide against the Yazidis.
“This is a historic moment for the Yazidi community,” Natia Navrouzov, a lawyer and member of the NGO Yazda, which collects evidence of the crimes committed by the Islamic State against Yazidis, told AFP before the verdict.
“It is the first time in Yazidi’s history that a perpetrator has appeared in court on charges of genocide,” he said.
Prosecutors say Al-Jumailly and his now ex-wife, a German woman named Jennifer Wenisch, “bought” a Yazidi woman and child as domestic “slaves” while living in Mosul, then IS-occupied in 2015.
They later moved to Fallujah, where Al-Jumailly is accused of chaining the five-year-old to an outdoor window in a heat that rises to 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) as punishment for wetting her mattress, causing her to led to dying of thirst. .
In a separate trial, Wenisch, 30, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in October for “crimes against humanity in the form of slavery” and aiding and abetting the girl’s murder by not offering help.
Identified only by her first name Nora, the girl’s mother testified in both Munich and Frankfurt about the torment her daughter suffered.
She also described being raped multiple times by Islamic State jihadists after they invaded her village in the Sinjar Mountains in northwestern Iraq in August 2014.
The mother was represented by a team that included London-based human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who has been at the forefront of a campaign to have IS crimes against Yazidis recognized as genocide, along with the former slave. Yazidi and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia. Murad.
Although Clooney did not travel to Munich or Frankfurt, he called Wenisch’s conviction “a victory for all who believe in justice,” adding that he hoped to see “a more concerted global effort to bring ISIS (another acronym for IS) to the fore. Justice”.
Murad has asked the UN Security Council to refer cases related to crimes against Yazidis to the International Criminal Court or to create a specific tribunal for genocide committed against the community.
Germany, home to a large Yazidi community, is one of the few countries that has taken legal action for such abuses.
German courts have already handed down five convictions against women for Yazidi-related crimes against humanity committed in IS-controlled territories.
Germany has charged several German and foreign citizens with war crimes and crimes against humanity committed abroad, using the legal principle of universal jurisdiction that allows the prosecution of crimes even if they were committed in a foreign country.
Al-Jumailly’s trial “sends a clear message,” according to Navrouzov.
“No matter where the crimes were committed and no matter where the perpetrators are, thanks to universal jurisdiction, they cannot hide and will still be tried.”