On August 3, 2014, the Islamic State attacked the Yezidis of Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh province. Thousands of Yezidis were massacred and many others abducted, while more than half a million fled for their lives.
Three years later, the conditions that led to ISIS’s rise and the failure to prevent genocide and crimes against humanity against the Yezidis, Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities—including the collapse of local governance and security—have not been addressed. The successful political reconstruction of Iraq and Kurdistan depends on the ability to ensure justice and fair treatment for the region’s most vulnerable populations.
The ideological and political struggle against the Islamic State requires bringing its fighters to justice for their crimes not only of terrorism, but also of genocide. Though this process has just begun, to date, thousands of captured ISIS fighters have been accused of terrorism, but not one of them has been charged or tried for their crimes of genocide.
On August 3, Hudson Institute hosted a panel discussion on this important component of the battle against ISIS. Pari Ibrahim of the Free Yezidi Foundation and Naomi Kikoler of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum joined Hudson Institute’s Eric B. Brown to assess how adherents of the Islamic State movement can be brought to justice for their crimes of genocide, how the safety of vulnerable minority communities can be ensured as Iraq rebuilds, the unique stabilization needs of Nineveh where most minorities live, and what role the U.S. should play in preventing genocide in the future.