Prevent and Punish ISIS’s Genocide and Syria’s Crimes Against Humanity and Rescue and Protect the Victims
Professor Gregory Stanton (Genocide Watch)
Professor Elihu Richter (Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention)
Professor Irwin Cotler (Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights)
Lisa Miari (Springs of Hope Foundation)
Professor Muhammed Dajani (Wasatia)
March 21, 2016
A Call From Genocide Watch (Washington DC), the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention (Jerusalem), the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Montreal), and Springs of Hope Foundation (London and Jerusalem) and Wasatia (Jerusalem. Washington D.C).
Millions of citizens of Syria and Iraq have become refugees from war. Hundreds of thousands have been victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The European Parliament, the US House of Representatives, the US Secretary of State, and Pope Francis have commendably declared that ISIS, also known as Da’esh, is committing genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minority groups.
Genocide is the intentional destruction, in whole or in part, of a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such. ISIS is committing genocide and crimes against humanity against groups that do not conform to ISIS’s definition of ‘true Islam’ and its vision for the ‘caliphate,’ including Yazidis, Christians, Shabaks, Sabea-Mandeans, Turkomen and Shia Muslims.
ISIS’s policy of mass rape is genocidal. The gendered pattern of persecution pursued by ISIS against groups it considers to be infidels conforms to historical patterns of genocide, particularly the mass killing of men and teenage boys accompanied by the rape and enslavement of women and teenage girls and the kidnapping of children.
ISIS government in areas it has occupied includes beheadings of captives and people considered apostates, destruction of religious centers such as churches and monasteries, and pillage of ancient cultural sites that do not conform to the regime’s religious orthodoxy—acts typical of genocidal regimes.
In addition to genocide we believe that ISIS has perpetrated crimes against humanity, including:
- deportation and forcible transfers of populations;
- rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, and other forms of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
- persecution against identifiable groups on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds;
- enforced disappearance of persons; and
- other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.
ISIS commits war crimes as part of a plan or policy on a large scale. These prohibited acts include:
- mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;
- taking of hostages;
- intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population;
- intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historical monuments or hospitals;
- rape, sexual slavery, forced pregnancy and other forms of sexual violence;
- conscripting or enlisting children under the age of 15 years into armed forces or groups or using them to participate actively in hostilities.
We, of Genocide Watch, the Jerusalem Center for Genocide Prevention, Springs of Hope, and the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights and wasatia call upon members of the European Union, the Arab League, Turkey, the US and Canada and all other parties to the UN Conventions on the Protection of Refugees — to immediately offer refugee status to all individuals who belong to victim groups targeted for genocide and other crimes against humanity.
Members of such groups remain in imminent peril. This recommendation means prioritizing rescue and refugee support and admission for members of the targeted groups to countries whose governments guarantee protection from discrimination, persecution, and murder by jihadists.
We strongly endorse aid to countries nearest the conflict, such as Jordan and Turkey and the Kurdish Regional Government, which are providing shelter to those fleeing the region, where other actors such as Syria, Russia and Hezbollah are committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
We call upon a coalition of military powers to use whatever force is necessary to defeat ISIS and stop its evil crimes.
We also call upon the UN Security Council to hold the Syrian regime accountable for its crimes against humanity, notably its violations of the Conventions prohibiting the use of Chemical and Biological Weapons.
We call upon the United Nations Security Council or states-parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court to refer ISIS and the situations in Syria and Iraq to the ICC prosecutor for investigation and prosecution.
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