MIDDLE EAST & NORTH AFRICA
A model for a war crimes tribunal: The Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia (Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia ‘ECCC’. Photo: Julian Nyča, CC BY-SA 4.0, httpscommons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=20393874
Justice for Yezidi victims only by IS-Tribunal
Frankfurt am Main, 11 August 2020 – Today, on the 19th day of the trial against the Iraqi Taha Al-J, the main Yezidi witness Nora B. was questioned for the last time in court. She and her daughter had been sold as slaves to the accused by the terrorist militia Islamic State (IS) in 2015. The accused let the then 5-year-old daughter die of thirst in agony, chained in front of her mother.
The case, heard at the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt am Main, reveals the brutality of the IS tyranny and represents a considerable psychological burden for the victim. The International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) therefore admonishes that the Yezidi people can only receive justice in an IS war crimes tribunal.
The witness Nora B. said at the end of the trial that she demanded “her rights, the rights of her daughter and the rights of the Yezidi community”. The ISHR renews its call for the establishment of an IS Tribunal to bring the fighters of the terrorist militia to justice. In addition to condemning international crimes, such a tribunal will document and process the fates of the IS victims and place them in their overall context. “The Yezidi, especially the abducted and raped women and girls, will only be dealt with and brought to justice by an IS tribunal”, warns Khalil Al-Rasho, head of the Humanitarian Aid Middle East of the IGFM.
Background and details of the trial:
The focus of the still ongoing trial at the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt am Main is on the presentation of evidence and the legal assessment of the crimes the accused is being charged with. The main witness Nora B. was questioned intensively by the criminal defense over several days of the trial, reports the ISHR, which is continuously monitoring the trial. The reliability and validity of her statements were also called into question – a legitimate strategy of the defence, but one that places a considerable psychological burden on the victim.
At what cost does the trial take place: New traumatization or justice?
The ISHR stresses that such a trial must not lead to renewed traumatisation of the victims. For the traumatized mother, who lived for years as a house slave in IS captivity and was exposed to physical violence and sexual abuse, there is a danger that feelings of guilt can be triggered again. Thus Nora B. was asked by the criminal defense why she did not stand up for the rescue of her daughter and thus risked her own physical integrity. As part of a punishment, the accused had chained her daughter to a window in the blazing sun and let her die of thirst in agony in front of the mothers eyes.