Former ICC prosecutor pushes to open case against ISIS

Former ICC Chief Prosecutor pushes to open case against ISIS militants on grounds of attacking Iraq’s Yazidi minority

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Former International Criminal Court prosecutor Louis Moreno Ocampo

The former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), is pushing for a case to be opened into the ‘’ongoing genocide’’ against Iraq’s Yazidi religious minority, who are mostly located in northern Iraq and their lives are in the hands of ISIS militants.

Former ICC chief, Louis Moreno-Ocampo, said that some Yazidi activists demanding justice for the systematic slaughter, rape and enslavement of thousands of members of their religious minority, had come to him in the United States.

Ocampo, launched some of ICC's most high-profile cases, including the case against Saif-al Islam, son of former Libyan leader Gaddafi. 

The former ICC chief,who now works as a professor at Harvard University, has said that "it's a very clear case. It's an ongoing genocide because there are still people in captivity," 

He also added that "it's up to us to provide information that allows the ICC to understand, yes, we have jurisdiction in this case in this way." 

The most important obstacle in bringing the case to ICC is the legal jurisdiction process.

The ICC lacks jurisdiction over Iraq, because its government is not a signatory of the treaty that established the tribunal, but it would have the right to investigate crimes committed by nationals of one of its 123 signatory countries.

In the past, International Criminal Court was not keen to investigate on the basis of ‘’personal jurisdiction’’ which means, the principle that it has jurisdiction over offences committed by nationals of its member states.

The ICC believes that it is more appropriate for member states to investigate its own citizens.

As an alternative solution to the jurisdiction stalemate, Iraq government can decide to grant the ICC limited jurisdiction over Sinjar area from August 2014, that is when ISIS attacked the Yazidis.

The next step would be for the current prosecutor of the ICC to open an investigation, and issue arrest warrants for the perpetrators of the attacks when enough evidence has been gathered.

According to activists, around 5000 Yazidis have been captured by the militants in 2014. Some 2000 were able to escape or have been smuggled out of the area ISIS held area.


TRTWorld and agencies