Yazda and a group of survivors discuss establishing a tribunal to try ISIL suspects in Iraq

Yazda and a group of survivors discuss the establishment of a special tribunal to prosecute ISIL suspects in Iraq

On 9 June 2021, Yazda held a workshop with the Yazidi Survivors Network (YSN), a group of Yazidi survivors. Topics discussed included advancing accountability of perpetrators of atrocity crimes, justice for survivors, UNITAD’s recognition of the Yazidi genocide, the KRI, and Baghdad draft legislation on establishing a tribunal to prosecute crimes committed by ISIL and enable prosecution based on international law.

End of April, Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s cabinet approved draft legislation to establish an ISIL court in Erbil. The draft law is currently with the KRI Parliament to be voted on. The tribunal would ensure a legal framework to prosecute ISIL members for international crimes such as war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This initiative came shortly before the Yazidi genocide recognition by UNITAD on 10 May 2021.

YSN raised several questions and concerns, including why Iraq waited this long to pass a law, and whether the tribunal will have international involvement. The survivors emphasized that they wanted international involvement to ensure that the trials are fair and impartial. Another concern raised by the group was that most of them were not even aware that such draft law existed, and that they were not involved or consulted in the process. Indeed, out of 12 survivors, only 2 had vaguely heard about this initiative.

To ensure that the voices of survivors are heard, Yazda is planning to consult with survivors on the KRI draft law before sharing a set of comments and recommendations with the KRI Parliament.

The workshop was a part of Yazda’s project Advancing Accountability and Truth-Telling Processes for the Victims of Mass Atrocity Crimes Committed by ISIL in Iraq and Syria, funded by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH and Forum Civil Peace Service (CPS).

Yazda wish to thank GIZ and CPS for their continues support in making survivors pursue of justice and truth-telling possible.

Yazidi Survivor Network workshop in Dohuk, Iraq 9 June 2021

Yazidi Survivor Network workshop in Dohuk, Iraq 9 June 2021