Amal Clooney to fight for Yazidi women in court

Amal Clooney to fight for Yazidi women in court
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said she will represent Yazidi women enslaved by the Islamic State group in future court cases against the militants.
4 min read
10 June, 2016
Amal Clooney is one of the world's leading human rights lawyers [Getty]

Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said she could fight for Yazidi women enslaved by the Islamic State [IS] group in The Hague.

The London-based barrister said she would represent the victims of IS brutality in court and will hold the militants accountable for war crimes against Iraqi and Syrian women.

Clooney who works at Doughty Street Chambers said she would represent Nobel Prize winner Nadia Murad – who survived horrific detainment and rape at the hands of the militants – at the International Criminal Court, although no date was given.

"Amal Clooney will serve as their counsel in their efforts to secure accountability for the genocide, sexual enslavement and trafficking of Yazidi girls and women by the militant group Islamic State (IS) in Iraq," the barrister's office told The New Arab is a statement. 

"Efforts to achieve accountability will include seeking an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation and prosecution of the crimes committed against Nadia Murad and the Yazidi community."

Doughty Street Chambers' office confirmed to The New Arab Clooney's interest in taking up the cases.

Clooney said in a statement that the EU, UK, and US recognise that genocidal actions against the Yazidi have been committed by IS, not enough is being taken to prosecute commanders.

"We know that thousands of Yazidi civilians have been killed and that thousands of Yazidi women have been enslaved by a terrorist organisation, IS, that has publicly proclaimed its genocidal intent. We know that systematic rapes have taken place, and that they are still taking place," Clooney told The New Arab in a statement. 

"Yet no one is being held to account. It is time that we see IS commanders in the dock in The Hague, and I am honoured to have been asked to represent Nadia and the Yazidi community in their quest for legal accountability."

The European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the US government and the UK House of Commons have all recognised that there is a genocide being perpetrated by IS against the Yazidis in Iraq

The British-Lebanese barrister has fought a number of high-profile cases in court, representing al-Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, jailed in Egypt following a series of critical reports on the government.

Thousands of Yazidi women kidnapped by IS have been forced into sex slavery after the group captured Sinjar in northern Iraq in 2014, a mountainous region which is the modern-day and spiritual home for much of the world's Yazidi community.

A Kurdish group and US-led airstrikes forced the militants back from Sinjar Mountain, where Yazidi refugees had gathered.

It came too late to prevent the massacre of hundreds – possibly thousands – of men, children and elderly in Sinjar town.

Horrific examples of IS cruelty against the persecuted religious minority includes the "sale" of Yazidi women and girls in markets, group rape, and the murder of women who resist the fighters.

Some women have escaped IS captivity and would most likely lead the prosecution of militants.

Horrific examples of Islamic State group's cruelty against the persecuted religious minority includes the 'sale' of Yazidi women and girls in markets, group rape, and the murder of women who resist the fighters

A combined Iraqi army and Kurdish militia force advance is pushing IS out of its northern Iraqi territories, uncovering further evidence of IS war crimes.

This week, ARA news reported that 19 caged Yazidi women were burned to death in a public area in central Mosul for resisting IS forced sexual enslavement, although this is yet to be confirmed.

The UN and world powers have said IS persecution of Yazidi and other religious and ethnic minorities in tantamount to genocide after a dozens of mass graves were discovered in Sinjar.

However, a forensic expert in Sinjar have told The New Arab they are concerned about evidence of war crimes being lost or corrupted by Kurdish fighters working in the area making the case against IS militants more difficult.

"We are really concerned by the lack of evidence or professional examination of these sites," Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch told The New Arab in December.