ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations Investigative Team for the Accountability of Islamic State crimes (UNITAD) on Wednesday issued its second report detailing the progress made by its investigative team as it works to hold militants accountable for their war crimes.
UNITAD is supporting national efforts to hold members of the terrorist group responsible for their crimes by gathering evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possible genocide in Iraq.
In a statement on Wednesday, the committee said it had begun to identify “channels for the effective use of gathered evidence,” which includes “consultations with several states with respect to the use of evidence collected in ongoing domestic proceedings related to the crimes of ISIS.”
On March 15, the Federal Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and UNITAD marked the beginning of national efforts to unearth the first mass graves of Yezidis (Ezidi) killed by the Islamic State in Sinjar (Shingal) in August 2014.
The Ezidi religious minority suffered heavily at the hands of the terror group following its emergence in Iraq in 2014, including mass executions. The occupation of the town of Shingal led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Ezidis, who the Islamic State considers heretics.
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.
So far, dozens of Ezidi mass graves have been found in the country, 16 of which were discovered in the small village of Kojo in Shingal.
On Wednesday, UNITAD announced it had completed the unearthing of 12 of those graves in coordination with “local community and survivor advocate groups.”
“The Investigative Team has also worked to ensure that all evidentiary material collected from these sites is stored in line with international standards,” it added.
UNITAD Special Advisor Karim A. A. Khan QC will present the complete report of findings during a UN Security Council meeting in early June.