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Islamic State should be tried for cultural genocide against Yazidi according to new report – University of Reading

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Islamic State should be tried for cultural genocide against Yazidi according to new report

Release Date 03 August 2019

Destruction of Yazidi building

Five years after the beginning of an assault on Sinjar in Iraq by the so-called Islamic State, a new report outlines the cultural genocide of the Yazidi people and calls on the International Criminal Court to consider crimes against humanity against the terrorist group.

The report by RASHID International headed by an Archaeology Professor from the University of Reading, Yazda and EAMENA follows years of investigation into cultural heritage destruction during the genocide against the Yazidis. Out of the 68 sites reported destroyed, the report looked at 16 sites in the Bahzani/Bashiqa area and eight in the Sinjar area to which access was possible and which could be documented.

The report documents destruction of Yazidi tangible and intangible cultural heritage as a significant facet of the Islamic State's policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and the evidence of destruction has been collected and presented in context with other criminal acts.

Roger Matthews, President of RASHID International and Professor of Archaeology at the University of Reading, said:

 “In producing and publishing this report on the 5th anniversary of Daesh’s genocidal assaults on the peace-loving Yazidi peoples of northern Iraq, we aim to keep in the public eye the magnitude of suffering and persecution endured by the Yazidis in the summer of 2014 and in following years. We also aim to make it clear that international collaborative efforts are still urgently required in order to restore peace and order to the Yazidi regions of Iraq so that communities can be fully rebuilt and lives restarted in the wake of a terrible episode in the history of modern Iraq.”

The report concludes that the destruction of the cultural heritage of the Yazidi people constitutes a war crime, a crime against humanity (persecution) and further evidence of genocide, and offers the following recommendations

  • That the ICC and national prosecutors open investigations wherever jurisdiction allows.
  • That cultural heritage destruction should be considered in any prosecution of international crimes, especially the crime of genocide.
  • That Lalish Temple and its surroundings should be added to the World Heritage List and the List of Cultural Property under Enhanced Protection should be a key priority for the international community.
  • That the international community must assist with the reconstruction of Sinjar and Bahzani/ Bashiqa to prevent Yazidi culture from being lost forever.

The full report is availlable at:

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