FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 10, 2018
[New York] – In light of the capture of five senior ISIS officials on Wednesday, the Global Justice Center underscores the need for scrupulous adherence to international standards as they are brought to justice. The New York Times reports that, “It was unclear where [the officials] were being held or whether they had been given access to a lawyer,” raising serious due process concerns. This approach is familiar in Iraq, where terrorism prosecutions for ISIS suspects occur in mere minutes, focus solely on crimes of terrorism, and have thus far denied justice to the victims of some of ISIS’ worst abuses—women and girls.
Reports indicate that at least a few of the officials captured on Wednesday held senior administrative and religious positions within ISIS, in departments that were often integral to the execution of ISIS's genocidal strategies, including the sexual enslavement of Yazidi women and girls. The gender dynamics central to ISIS’ violence demand that gender also be at the center of accountability. Accordingly, it is essential that these suspects should be investigated and prosecuted for crimes beyond terrorism, including genocide, sexual slavery and rape. The capture and prosecution of ISIS fighters is essential to ensuring accountability for the horrors ISIS inflicted in Iraq and Syria, but in order for such accountability to be meaningful, the processes must adhere to human rights standards and ensure justice for victims.
For more information about gender justice for ISIS’ sexual and gender based violence, see the Global Justice Center’s recent analysis of Iraq’s criminal laws.
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