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Two Iraqis accused over Islamic State’s Yazidi genocide arrested in Germany

Two Iraqis suspected of involvement in the Islamic State (IS) group’s genocide of Yazidis have been arrested in Germany, in a move hailed by campaigners as justice for the persecuted minority.

The arrested couple, who have not been identified by German police, are accused of having kept Yazidi children as slaves and repeatedly sexually assaulting them.

According to a statement from the Office of the Federal Prosecutor, the two were brought before an investigating judge at the Federal Court of Justice, who read out the arrest warrants to them and ordered they be placed in pre-trial detention.

“Twana H.S. and Asia R.A. were married according to Islamic law and were members of the foreign terrorist organisation ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria between October 2015 and December 2017,” said the office in a statement.

“They held a then five-year-old Yazidi girl as a slave since no later than late 2015. Since October 2017, they enslaved a then twelve-year-old Yazidi girl as well. Twana H.S. repeatedly raped both children.”

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The brutality inflicted by IS upon the Yazidi community during the massacre in the Iraqi province of Sinjar in August 2014 shocked the world. The slaughter of as many as 5,000 Yazidis has been characterised as genocide by the UN.

An estimated 3,000 women and girls from the community were kidnapped and forced into enslavement.

Nadia Murad is a Yazidi survivor of IS abduction who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018, and now campaigns for justice for IS victims. She told Middle East Eye that Germany’s prosecution of the militant group’s members – which saw them first jailing an IS militant for the crime of genocide in 2021 – should provide a model for the rest of the world.

‘No little girl should ever be taken from her family and physically and sexually abused. No perpetrator should be allowed to go unpunished’ – Nadia Murad, survivor of IS enslavement

“Germany has shown exceptional commitment to justice and accountability by holding ISIS members accountable and not allowing these terrorists to have a safe haven in Germany. They have included survivors and their families in the judicial process,” she said.

Murad contrasted Germany’s actions with the Iraqi government’s ongoing failure to recover the thousands of Yazidis still missing.

“The rape and enslavement of women and girls formed an integral component of ISIS’s genocide of the Yazidi community. These two girls were sadly among thousands who were taken – most of whom remain missing today,” she said.

“It is a systematic failure by the Iraqi authorities that they not only failed to protect the minority Yazidi community from genocide in 2014, but since the group’s defeat, they have failed to rescue over two thousand women and children who are still being held by IS families.”

‘Enjoying impunity’

A number of countries and international bodies recognise the mass killing of Yazidis by IS as a genocide.

In November 2021, a court in Frankfurt found IS member Taha al-Jumailly guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aiding and abetting war crimes, and bodily harm resulting in death after he joined the group in 2013.

German prosecutors said Jumailly and his ex-wife, a German woman named Jennifer Wenisch, “purchased” a Yazidi woman and child as household “slaves” while living in Mosul.

Iraq: Refugee mother left in limbo with children sues US government for denying entry Read More »

The Yazidi girl’s mother accused Jumailly of buying her daughter in Mosul and chaining the five-year-old girl to a window outdoors as temperatures reached 50C, as punishment for wetting the bed, leading her to die from thirst.

In January, Germany’s federal court of justice upheld the ruling and rejected the defendant’s appeal.

Murad claimed that there were many more IS members who had escaped to Europe and Iraq’s neighbours, where they were currently “enjoying impunity”.

“No little girl should ever be taken from her family and physically and sexually abused. No perpetrator should be allowed to go unpunished for these actions,” she said.

In March 2021, Iraq’s government adopted the Yazidi Survivors’ Law, in an attempt to provide reparations for survivors of the atrocities.

However, rights groups have raised concerns about the need for survivors to file a criminal complaint in order to be eligible.

Following Middle East Eye’s reporting in February 2021, Shia Turkmen victims of IS, who were largely ignored by the authorities and their community, were added to the Survivors’ Law and began receiving reparations.

Middle East Eye

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