ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The head of a UN team probing Islamic State crimes in Iraq on Monday called for the trial of members of the group in an international tribunal similar to that in Nuremberg that prosecuted prominent Nazi figures after World War II.
Special Advisor Karim Khan heads the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh (UNITAD). He, along with his team, has been tasked with collecting and preserving crimes perpetrated by the terrorist organization in Iraq after it took over large swaths of territory in 2014.
Khan and his almost 80-person team have been working in Iraq for about a year in this endeavor. According to AFP, they are analyzing up to 12,000 bodies exhumed from 200 mass graves left behind by the Islamic State, 600,000 videos showing the group’s crimes, and 15,000 “internal ISIS documents.”
In mid-July, Khan briefed the UN Security Council, outlining the focus of his investigative team in three key areas: crimes against the Yezidi (Ezidi) minority in the Sinjar (Shingal) district in August 2014, Islamic State crimes in Mosul between 2014 and 2016, and the mass killing of unarmed Iraqi air force cadets from the Tikrit Air Academy in June 2014.
“It’s a mountain to climb,” Khan told the agency.
“Who could have thought in the 21st century we would see crucifixion or burning a human alive in a cage, slavery, sexual slavery, throwing people off buildings, beheadings,” he added. All of this captured “with a TV camera.”
The group’s crimes, however, “were not new,” Khan asserted. “What is new, perhaps with ISIS, is that the ideology fuels the criminal group in the same way that fascism fueled the criminal pogroms of Hitler.”
“Iraq and humanity requires its Nuremberg moment.”
Such a trial would have an “educative effect, not only in the region, but in other parts of the world where communities may be vulnerable to the lies and propaganda of ISIS,” he added.
“That ideology can be debunked, so people that are watching...can realize a self-evident truth, that it was the most un-Islamic state that we have seen.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany