ISIS Crimes: Justice Must be Done!

ISIS Crimes: Justice Must be Done!

By Grégor Puppinck1507819456468

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe calls "Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg unanimously calls on States to prosecute and punish ISIS crimes and genocide"

© Photo: Council of Europe

The ECLJ welcomes the debate that took place this Thursday 12th of October at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, and in the adoption of the Resolution “Prosecuting and punishing the crimes against humanity or even possible genocide committed by Daesh”.

This vote marks a new step in the fight against Islamic terrorism. This Resolution recommends European States to initiate legal proceedings before the national and international jurisdictions against the persons having taken part in the crimes committed by “Daesh” on religious minorities in Syria and Iraq.

The European Union, the United-States and many more European countries and authorities1 have recognised that a crime of genocide has been and is being committed by the so-called “Islamic State” or “Daesh” against religious minorities, notably Christians and Yazidi.

Syria and Iraq cannot bring such crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would in principle be competent to judge them, as these countries have not accepted its jurisdiction. China and Russia have furthermore opposed the seisin of that Court by the Security Council of the UN. Finally, the Prosecutor of the ICC himself refused to investigate on crimes committed by nationals of State parties to the ICC. From there, as regretted by the Resolution, “There is thus at present no international judicial mechanism actually capable of trying Daesh.

In view of this, the PACE calls upon States to prosecute and condemn those of their nationals who participated in the crimes committed by “Daesh”. It reminded them of their obligation under the 1948 Genocide Convention to “take prompt and effective action […] to prevent and punish acts of genocide, as well as their general responsibility to act against crimes under international law”. It further asked all States to recognise that the crimes committed in Syria and Iraq constitute a “genocide”, to facilitate the recognition of the competence of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Finally, the Assembly adjudicated in favour of the recognition of a “universal jurisdiction over crimes covered by the Rome Statute of the ICC”. The Assembly also invites Russia, a member of the Council of Europe, to stop opposing the seisin of the ICC by the Security Council.

This Resolution was adopted by 67 votes for and 4 absentions (including two French from the president’s party, LREM). A few Turkish deputies, who wanted to add the Sunni to the victims of “Daesh” finally renounced to defend such amendments.

The ECLJ is active on this file at the Council of Europe and the UN. In 2016, we successfully worked for the recognition of the genocide. On the 12th of September, the Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Adama Dieng, assured he shared with the ECLJ “the belief that, given that the acts committed by [ISIS] may constitute genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, they should be examined and prosecuted by independent and competent courts”.2 

The ECLJ and its partner the ACLJ are fully committed so that the instigators of crimes against humanity be prosecuted and condemned.

1 In January 2016, the APCE was one of the first to conclude that Daesh had “perpetrated acts of genocide and other serious crimes punishable under international law.” The European Parliament adopted a similar resolution the following month, declaring that Daesh was perpetrating a genocide towards Christians, Yazidi and other religious minorities, and urgently inviting the Security Council of the United Nations to take this question to the ICC. “UN human rights panel concludes ISIL is committing genocide against Yazidis” UN News Center, In France, the Assemblée Nationale estimed, on the 8th of December 2016, that the violence and crimes committed by Daesh on Christians, Yazidi and other religious minorities entered the definition of genocide. Pope Francis also declared that “a form of genocide” is currently committed towards the Christians of the Middle-East.