Iraq News
Crime & Justice

Iraqi ISIS element handed life sentence for Yazidi genocide

By Diyaruna and AFP


Iraqi ISIS element Taha al-Jumailly hides his face as judges arrive in the courtroom for the start of his trial for genocide and murdering a young Yazidi girl he held as a slave, on April 24, 2020, at the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt, Germany. [Arne Dedert/Pool/AFP]

FRANKFURT -- A Frankfurt court on Tuesday (November 30) handed a life sentence to an Iraqi "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) element for genocide against the Yazidis, in the first verdict worldwide to use the label.

Taha al-Jumailly, 29, was found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity resulting in death, war crimes, aiding and abetting war crimes and bodily harm resulting in death after joining ISIS in 2013.

Proceedings were suspended as the defendant passed out in court when the verdict was read out.

Iraq's Yazidi minority was severely persecuted by ISIS elements, who killed hundreds of Yazidi men, raped women and forcibly recruited children as fighters.

In May, United Nations special investigators reported that they had collected "clear and convincing evidence" of genocide by ISIS against the Yazidis.

"This is a historical moment for the Yazidi community," said Natia Navrouzov, a lawyer and member of Yazda, a non-governmental organisation which gathers evidence of crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidis, ahead of the verdict.

"It is the first time in Yazidi history that a perpetrator stands in a court of law for genocide charges," she said.

Prosecutors say al-Jumailly and his now ex-wife, German national Jennifer Wenisch, "purchased" a Yazidi woman and child as household "slaves" while living in ISIS-occupied Mosul in 2015.

They later moved to Fallujah, where al-Jumailly is accused of chaining the 5-year-old girl to a window outdoors in heat rising to 50 degrees Celsius as a punishment for wetting her mattress, leading her to die of thirst.

In a separate trial, Wenisch, 30, was sentenced to 10 years in jail in October for "crimes against humanity in the form of enslavement" and aiding and abetting the girl's killing by failing to offer help.

Identified only by her first name, Nora, the child's mother testified in both Munich and Frankfurt about the torment visited on her child.

She also described being raped multiple times by ISIS elements after they invaded her village in the Sinjar mountains in northwestern Iraq in August 2014.

Al-Jumailly's trial "sends a clear message", according to Navrouzov.

"It doesn't matter where the crimes were committed and it doesn't matter where the perpetrators are, thanks to the universal jurisdiction, they can't hide and will still be put on trial," she said.

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