NEW YORK — Lawyer and activist Amal Clooney will represent the women who have been enslaved and trafficked by ISIS in the Yazidi genocide.
Clooney, a barrister who specializes in international law and human rights law, plans to seek an International Criminal Court investigation and prosecution of crimes against the Yazidi ethnic and religious minority, Women in the World reports. Nobel Peace Prize nominee Nadia Murad is one of the survivors who will be represented.
“The European Parliament, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the U.S. government and the U.K. House of Commons have all recognized that there is a genocide being perpetrated by IS [the Islamic State] against the Yazidis in Iraq,” Clooney said in a statement to Women in the World.
“How can it be that the most serious crimes known to humanity are being carried out before our eyes but are not being prosecuted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague?”
Nadia was among the thousands of Yezidi women kidnapped from Northern Iraq and forced into camps where they were sexually brutalized for belonging to a religious minority in an area terrorized by the Islamic extremist group. After enduring three months of torture, Nadia escaped in November 2014.
The now 23-year-old activist, who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize this past January, has been tireless in her efforts to bring more political attention to the Yezidi genocide. She praised Amal as an “incredible passionate woman” who has given her “renewed hope” in the fight. “It is important to establish justice, and Amal being a life-long defender of justice, it was a natural bond between her and I to be established. We are both defenders of justice, and peace seekers through justice,” said Nadia. “The final goal for us all is accountability to perpetrators of genocide, and justice for victims like myself.”
Clooney also represents Yazda, a non-profit organization that has been helping the Yazidi community since the genocide began during ISIS’s attacks in August of 2014. The raids led to the deaths of an estimated 5,000 civilians, the enslavement of more than 2,000 women and girls, and the displacement of 400,000 people from the Yazidi homelands in Sinjar, the Ninevah plain, and Syria.
ISIS has targeted the Yazidi population of about 230,000 people because they do not practice Islam. In 2014, over 5,200 Yazidis were abducted, most of them women, and over 400,000 Yazidis have been forced from their homes. ISIS has also condoned the systemic rape and sexual enslavement of non-Muslim women. Last October, a 20-year-old Yazidi woman spoke at a UN panel about an American ISIS fighter holding her as a sex slave.