ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney on Tuesday announced she was requesting the transfer of a female member of the Islamic State to face justice for crimes committed against women from the Yezidi (Ezidi) minority and US hostage Kayla Mueller, who was killed in 2015.
Clooney, who most famously represents Nadia Murad, has put forward the request on behalf of Ezidi women and girls who were held in the house of Umm Sayyaf, the wife of Islamic State financier, Abu Sayyaf. The Islamic State leader was killed in a special operations raid by Kurdish and US forces on 15 May 2015.
Mueller, a humanitarian aid worker, was also held there for some time.
Clooney told the UN Security Council meeting on sexual violence in conflict that the Ezidis were raped by Islamic State men and that Mueller “was held in brutal conditions for over 18 months and raped repeatedly” by the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Umm Sayyaf showed no solidarity with her fellow females: She locked them in a room, instigated their beatings and put makeup on them to ‘prepare’ them for rape,” Clooney said. “I am requesting her transfer to the US to face justice for those crimes.”
“If this august body cannot prevent sexual violence in war, then it must at least punish it,” she stressed, adding: “This is your Nuremberg moment.”
Clooney did not clarify where Umm Sayyaf was currently being held. However, Nasrin As’ad Ibrahim, Umm Sayyaf’s real name, was transferred into Kurdish custody following the raid in 2015 and was being held by the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Interior.
Umm Sayyaf was taken prisoner during the raid on suspicions that she was an Islamic State member who also assisted in the enslavement of at least one young girl.
In the same vein as Clooney, Syrian Kurds have called for an international tribunal to prosecute foreign fighters.
The emergence of the Islamic State and its violent assault on Iraq’s Ezidi-majority city of Sinjar (Shingal) in August 2014 led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of members of the Ezidi community and the killing of thousands, now recognized by the United Nations as an act of genocide.
Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled in neighboring countries or Western states.
Militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Editing by Nadia Riva