International Justice

CJ354 Endicott College

ISIS forces found to have committed systematic rape

Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq have been subjected to systematic rape, sexual slavery, and forced marriage by ISIS forces.  This article describes 20 survivors who witnessed unspeakable offenses, including selling women as gifts of war and witnessing fellow victims attempt suicide to evade rape.  According to Human Rights Watch, ISIS’s violations of international law include abduction and detention – it is estimated that they have detained more than 736,000 Iraqis since August 2014 – sexual abuse and violence, forced marriage, forced conversion to Islam, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  Human Rights Watch explicitly says that ISIS’s “widespread” and “systematic” “plan” for the torture of these people indicates that crimes against humanity took place.  Given these severe circumstances, it will be interesting to see how and if the international community reacts.  Since neither Iraq nor Syria are members of the ICC, it is highly unlikely that they will intervene.  The only way this is possible is if the UN makes a referral.  On the other hand, it is now very clear that horrendous and widespread crimes were committed, and this raises the question: will this affect how the international community will respond?2015_iraq_yezidi_PRESSERThis is a photo of one of the camps in northern Iraq where over 18,000 Yezidis are held.  They have been displaced from their homes because of the conflict.

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