Amal Clooney: Don’t let Islamic State get away with genocide

Amal Clooney: Don't let Islamic State get away with genocide

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney urged Iraq and the world’s nations on Thursday not to let the Islamic State extremist group “get away with genocide.”

The wife of actor George Clooney, who represents victims of IS rapes and kidnappings, told a U.N. meeting that what’s “shocking” is not just the group’s brutality but the “passive” response by the world’s nations to the campaign to investigate its crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.

She urged Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send a letter to the U.N. Security Council so it can vote to set up an investigation into crimes by the group in Iraq where IS once controlled about 40 per cent of the country’s territory but is now being routed by government and coalition forces.

“Justice is what the victims want…” Clooney said, “but justice will be forever out of reach if we allow the evidence to disappear, if mass graves are not protected, if medical evidence is lost, if witnesses can no longer be traced.”

Clooney expressed frustration that nothing has happened since she came to the U.N. six months ago seeking accountability for victims of the Islamic State group, also known by the acronym ISIS and the Arab name Daesh.

“Killing ISIS on the battlefield is not enough. We must kill the idea behind ISIS by exposing the brutality and bringing individual criminals to justice,” she said.

Clooney represents Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman captured by IS in Iraq in 2014, who has spoken out about since her release about being raped, sold as a sex slave, and praying for death while in captivity.

Murad, now a goodwill ambassador for the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking, told the meeting that victims have patiently waited for over a year for the investigation of IS to start “to be able to at least bury our dead.”

“Why it is taking so long? I cannot understand why you are letting ISIS get away with it, or what more you need to hear before you will act,” Murad said, her voice breaking with emotion. “So today, I ask the Iraqi government and the U.N. to establish an investigation and give all the victims of ISIS the justice they deserve.”

Clooney addressed prime minister al-Abadi saying it was initially Iraq’s idea to involve the U.N. and sending a letter “would silence those who doubt your commitment to bring Daesh to justice.”

If no letter is forthcoming, she said the Security Council could act without Iraq’s consent, or it could refer the extremist group to the International Criminal Court, or the General Assembly could establish “an accountability mechanism” as it did for crimes in Syria in December. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres could also launch an investigation, she said.

“But none of this has happened,” Clooney said. “Instead, mass graves in Iraq lie unprotected and un-exhumed, witnesses are fleeing and not one ISIS militant has faced trial for international crimes anywhere in the world.”

Clooney urged all countries “to stand up for justice” and demonstrate “moral leadership” to make sure that ISIS is held accountable.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told the meeting he looks forward to finalizing the Security Council resolution with Iraq “very, very soon.” He said the aim is to assist Iraq “with the difficult but crucial challenge of preserving the huge amount of evidence of Daesh crimes committed on Iraqi territory.”

Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Alhakim said the government plans to try cases involving low and mid-level members of Daesh but it will have to work with the international community to bring the top leaders to justice.

He made no mention, however, of U.N. help in preserving evidence or the required letter.

Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Kelowna heading towards wetter than average September

Kelowna is only 3 milimetres away from the monthly average

It’s playoffs or bust for Okanagan Sun with only 4 games remaining

The Sun return to the Apple Bowl Saturday after a 38-9 win last weekend

Three people taken to hospital after a fire at Rutland home

The fire which was located on the second floor of the townhouse complex is now out

Multiple crashes, including a bus, plague Highway 97

Thursday’s evening commute in Kelowna slowed by collisions

Health minister announces new urgent care centre in Kelowna

Adrian Dix made the annoucment Thursday at the Capri Centre

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

South Okanagan school bus driver calls out bad drivers

Bus driver said she sees multiple vehicles go by the bus despite having the overhead lights flashing

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

Morning Start: Who is Greta Thunberg?

Your morning start for Friday, Sept. 20

Most Read