Amal Clooney welcomes Iraq's moves to prosecute IS militants

Amal Clooney welcomes Iraq's moves to prosecute IS militants
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has welcomed Iraq's latest step towards prosecuting IS fighters for war crimes.
3 min read
17 August, 2017
Clooney has called for the prosecution of IS militants [Getty]
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has welcomed a letter sent by Iraq to the UN requesting help in collecting evidence to prosecute Islamic State group militants.

Clooney has long called for the prosecution of IS fighters for war crimes and genocide, and is representing Yazidi victims in their hunt for justice.

On Wednesday, Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari sent a letter to the UN Security Council calling for the establishment of mechanisms to investigate and prosecute IS militants.

Clooney welcomed the move and also the UK's subsequent pledge to assist the Iraqi government in the investigations.

"Yazidis and other [IS] victims want justice in a court of law, and they deserve nothing less," Clooney said in a statement.

"I hope that the Iraqi government's letter will mark the beginning of the end of impunity for genocide and other crimes that [IS] is committing in Iraq and around the world."

In March, Clooney called on Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send a letter to the UN "to silence those who doubt your commitment to bring Daesh [IS] to justice".

The Lebanese lawyer said the move will go some way to ease the pain of Yazidi victims in Iraq who have endured horrifying suffering at the hands of IS over the past three years. 

Tens of thousands have been killed or enslaved by the militant group, as IS attempted to eradicate the religion and its followers after the militants' 2014 expansion in Iraq.

Clooney represents Yazidi survivor and UN goodwill ambassador Nadia Murad, who has called for the prosecution of IS militants. 

"I am very happy to receive this positive news just one day after the third anniversary of the massacres in Kocho. I am grateful to Iraqi Prime Minister Mr Abadi and to the United Kingdom for initiating the first step to establish an international mechanism to investigate [IS] and hold them accountable," said Murad.

"Victims deserve a meaningful accountability mechanism in which they trust and I hope that the Security Council resolution will reflect that."

The UK - a permanent member of the Security Council - said it would draft a resolution and push for its approval.

Ibrahim Jaafari said that Baghdad is determined to follow up on Iraq's military victories over the group with the prosecution of captured fighters.

"The crimes committed by the Daesh [IS] terrorist organisation against civilians and destruction of infrastructure and archaeological sites in Iraq are crimes against humanity, which makes it important to bring its perpetrators from Daesh [IS] terrorist gangs to justice, in accordance (with) the Iraqi law," the letter read.

Iraqi troops and Kurdish militias, however, have been accused of ruining many of the IS massacre sites, which could prevent investigators gathering all the evidence they need for prosecutions.

Agencies contributed to this story.