A German court on Tuesday convicted a former Islamic State member of the 2015 murder of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl.
Taha al-Jumaili, an Iraqi citizen, was also sentenced to life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity. He was ordered to pay the victim’s mother, who escaped captivity, $57,000.
This is the first genocide verdict against an Islamic State member.
“This is the moment the Yazidis have been waiting for,” said lawyer Amal Clooney, who served as the mother’s lawyer. “To finally hear a judge, after seven years, declare that all they suffered was genocide. To see a man face justice for the murder of a Yazidi girl – because she was a Yazidi.”
German prosecutors said al-Jumaili bought the mother and child as slaves in Syria in 2015. He then took them to Fallujah, Iraq, where they beat them and did not give them enough food.
In 2015, al-Jumaili chained the girl to window bars in a room where the temperature reached 50 °C. The girl died.
In 2019, al-Jumaili was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany, where authorities took up the case using the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Al-Jumaili’s German wife was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison for her involvement in the case. She was a prosecution witness in the trial of al-Jumaili.
In 2014, IS ransacked a Yazidi stronghold in northern Iraq. In many cases, this forced young women into sexual slavery. Many members of the Yazidi community, which number more than half a million, were displaced.
In 2016, a UN commission declared IS’s treatment of Yazidis inside Syria as genocide.
“We can only hope that [this case] will serve as a milestone for further cases to follow,” Zamira Dlovani, a lawyer and member of Germany’s Central Council of Yezidis, told the Associated Press, noting that thousands of Yazidis are being killed by the Islamic State group. Women were enslaved and abused. “This must be the beginning, not the end.”
Some information in this report has been received from The Associated Press and Reuters.