Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney’s work on Accountability for ISIS’ Crimes against the Yazidis


Since the spring of 2016, Amal Clooney has acted as legal counsel for Yazda, as well as for UN Goodwill Ambassador Nadia Murad and other survivors of the Yazidi genocide. As victims’ counsel, Amal is seeking to secure accountability for international crimes perpetrated by ISIS against the Yazidi community in Iraq and Syria, including genocide, mass executions, sexual enslavement and trafficking, recruitment of child soldiers and forced displacement.

Advocacy before the United Nations

On behalf of the Yazidi community, Amal has urged the United Nations to investigate ISIS’ crimes against all Iraqis. In particular, Amal has supported a proposed UN Security Council resolution put forward by the UK Government to establish a mechanism to collect evidence of the international crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq.

The establishment of this investigation by the United Nations has been called for by the highest Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Al-AbadiForeign Minister Al-Jaafari, and then Ambassador to the UN Alhakim. However, the resolution creating this mechanism is yet to be put to a vote before the UN Security Council.

Amal worked to advance this proposal through bilateral meetings with UN representatives and state officials, including from Iraq, the UK, the US, Russia and the European Union, as well as the Kurdish Regional Government. She also advocated for the establishment of this investigation mechanism in two powerful speeches delivered before the United Nations in New York in September 2016 and March 2017.

Evidence collection and accountability before international and domestic courts

In order to bring ISIS militants to justice for crimes committed against the Yazidis, Amal and her team have assisted Yazda to gather and analyze evidence of atrocities. Ongoing efforts include witness interviews with survivors, as well as the collection and preservation of documentary evidence, including photographic and video materials published online.

Amal has liaised with UN bodies and NGOs to receive the material gathered by them, acting as a hub for the collection and analysis of evidence of crimes against the Yazidis and a contact point for international and domestic prosecutors. These documentation and analysis efforts will allow, among other things, to supplement the submission to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court filed by Yazda in September 2015.

Amal also works closely with national prosecutors who are identifying ISIS members for prosecution, including in Germany where an arrest warrant was issued in December 2016 against an ISIS commander allegedly responsible for genocide and other crimes against the Yazidi minority. In the US, Amal represents two Yazidi survivors in a case against Umm Sayyaf, a captured ISIS member and widow of ISIS’ former Minister of Oil and Gas, in the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

More links to videos of Amal’s key speeches and interviews:

Yazda Executive Director, Murad Ismael, Amal Clooney and Nadia Murad
Yazda President, Haider Elias, Amal Clooney and Nadia Murad with UN Secretary General
Amal Clooney and Ahmed Khudida Burjus, Yazda Deputy Executive Director, meeting with senior advisors to British Prime Minister David Cameron and representatives of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office at 10 Downing Street.