In October 2019, our co-founder, Ewelina Ochab, reported that Germany was to conduct its first genocide trial of a Daesh fighter, Taha A.-J.

The man was extradited to Germany in October, where he has since been held in pre-trial custody before his trial begun in late April 2020.

According to the press statement, the man is accused of having joined Daesh, a terror organisation, before March 2013. The allegations state that in the summer of 2015, Taha A.-J. and Jennifer W. “purchased” and enslaved a five-year-old Yazidi girl and her mother. The couple kept the woman and girls enslaved in Fallujah, Iraq, and subjected them to forced conversion and physical abuse including battery and starvation. Allegedly, Taha A.-J. chained the girl outside and left her there to die of thirst. 

The atrocities that Taha A.-J. and Jennifer W. are accused of are a part of a larger campaign of atrocities perpetrated by Daesh against Yazidis and other religious minorities in Iraq. The atrocities carried out by Daesh are recognised by international institutions, several parliaments and a few governments as genocide carried out by way of mass murder, torture, abuse, slavery, rape and sexual abuse, forced displacement and much more. 

Ewelina Ochab comments:

As there is still no international tribunal that would have the jurisdiction to prosecute Daesh fighters for the atrocities perpetrated in Iraq or Syria, and with Iraqi courts unable to ensure justice, the pro-active approach taken by German courts must be commended. Other states should extend a helping hand and exercise the universal jurisdiction to prosecute some of the worst atrocities that we have witnessed in the recent times. Indeed, over the years, several states have exercised universal jurisdiction to ensure that victims see some justice being done during their lifetimes. There is no reason not to do so in the case of Daesh atrocities. Alternatively, states must work together to establish an international ad-hoc tribunal to prosecute the perpetrators. The victims and survivors of Daesh atrocities deserve to see justice being done. The world needs to see the end of the impunity for atrocities that has diminished our faith in the international systems.

For updates on the trial, see the joint statement from Amal Clooney, Natalie von Wistinghausen and Yazda.

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