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UK Kurdish Genocide Task Force seeks international action to punish acts of genocide committed by terrorists

THU, 4 SEP 2014 15:32 | UK Kurdish Genocide Task Force

Civilians seek refuge after terrorist attacks (courtesy Warzer Jaff / CNN)

The UK Kurdish Genocide Task Force, an independent group of experts and British Parliamentarians, calls on the international community to end, prosecute and punish acts of genocide and other crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

The Kurdish Genocide Task Force was established in 2011 to gain recognition of acts of genocide that took place against the Iraqi Kurds in the past. It is now clear that genocide has come again to Iraq, this time claiming Yezidi Kurds, Assyrian Christians, Shabaks and Kakayis.

We urge all States to take swift and effective action.

Genocide starts with the first victim. There have already been too many.

September 1, 2014

The Kurdish Genocide Task Force, echoing the use of the term genocide by President Obama of the USA and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, and in support of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq, calls on all signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention and all Member States of the United Nations,

  • to take all necessary steps to end, prosecute and punish the commission of acts of genocide and of crimes against humanity by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS);

  • to call on the competent organs of the United Nations to take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide under the Convention;

  • more specifically, to set up a fact-finding commission of experts for the purpose of investigating and collecting the evidence of eye-witnesses for the purpose of preparing a timely record with the aim of facilitating

the prosecution of those responsible and
the international recognition of the above-mentioned acts as genocide;

The Kurdistan Regional Government is willing to

share all evidence in its possession; and to
provide all assistance within its capability with such a fact-finding commission.

The Task Force calls on all Member States of the United Nations

  • to discharge effectively their responsibility to protect the civilian population in the affected areas from genocide and crimes against humanity; and

  • to lobby the members of United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution referring the acts committed by ISIS as a new situation to the International Criminal Court.

Evidence from eyewitnesses in Duhok province, media reports and the propaganda material put out by ISIS itself, constitute clear prima facie evidence that ISIS is waging a campaign of discriminatory violence targeting victims who are defined by their membership of religious or ethnic groups. The groups currently being targeted are Yezidi Kurds, Assyrian Christians, Shabaks and Kakayis.

The Task Force urges all members of the United Nations to establish without delay a fact-finding commission which will investigate and collect the available evidence to establish if these events can be recognised by the international community as acts of genocide or crimes against humanity.

The Kurdish Genocide Task Force is of the view that ISIS is committing acts of genocide in the territories controlled by it and is actively conspiring to carry out further acts of genocide and crimes against humanity. The genocide is ongoing and not merely imminent.

The 1948 Genocide Convention defines genocide as any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

It declares the following acts punishable:

(a) Genocide;
(b) Conspiracy to commit genocide;
(c) Direct and public incitement to commit genocide;
(d) Attempt to commit genocide;
(e) Complicity in genocide.

There is ample evidence already that the acts of ISIS may fall under several of these categories.

Similarly, those who support ISIS financially, logistically or otherwise must be investigated, prosecuted and punished.

The international law principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) obliges individual states and the international community to take effective measures to prevent the commission of genocide and crimes against humanity, if necessary also by appropriate military intervention or support of the local forces combating ISIS.

There is evidence already that ISIS engages on a widespread and systematic scale in attacks against civilian populations in the territories controlled by it, which may be categorised as falling under the jurisdiction ratione materiae of the International Criminal Court (ICC) under several headings of Art. 7(1) of its Statute:

(a) Murder;
(c) Enslavement;
(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;
(e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law;
(f) Torture;
(g) Rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any
other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity;
(h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic,
cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, in connection with any act referred to in this paragraph or any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court;
(k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

Since neither Syria nor Iraq are States Parties to the ICC Statute, a referral by the Security Council of the United Nations of the acts described above as a new situation under Art. 13(b) of the ICC Statute is necessary for the Court to begin an investigation.

The Kurdish Genocide Task Force was established in London in 2011 to gain recognition of acts of genocide that took place against the Iraqi Kurds in the past.

The Following Members and Supporters of the Task Force have agreed to sign this statement. All are signing in a personal capacity:

Permanent Members

Dave Anderson, Member of Parliament

Professor Michael Bohlander, Chair in Comparative and International Criminal Law, Durham Law School

Professor Brian Brivati, Director of D Academy, KGTF Chair

Hugo Charlton, Human Rights Barrister

Robert Halfon, Member of Parliament, Vice-chair APPG on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, KGTF Chair

Gary Kent, Administrator, APPG on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq

Dr Gregory Kent, Convenor MA Human Rights, Roehampton University

Simon Minks, Public Prosecutor at The Hague

Professor Brendan O’Leary, Lauder Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Mike Pullen, Solicitor

Gwynne Roberts, Director, RW Films and Kurdistan Memory Programme

Professor Gareth Stansfield, Exeter University

Sadie Wykeham, UK Director, Kurdistan Memory Programme

Nadhim Zahawi , Member of Parliament, Vice-Chair APPG on the Kurdistan Region in Iraq


Mike Gapes, Member of Parliament

Rt Hon Alistair Burt, Member of Parliament

Jason McCartney, Member of Parliament

Lord Clement Jones, Liberal Democratic Spokesman for Culture, Media and Sport in Lords

Gavi Mairone, Executive Director, Global Justice Group, and founder of MM LAW LLC, US-based firm

KRG High Representative to the UK, KGTF Director

Kurdistan Regional Government UK Representation

Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman,

Hiwa Jwanroyi, Director of Education and Culture Affairs, KRG UK Representation

For more information, contact:

Gary Kent - garynkent@gmail.com
Brian Brivati - brian.brivati@gmail.com
Hiwa Jwanroyi, KRG UK Representation - hiwa.jwanroyi@krg.org

The appeal is also available online here