Photo: Reuters

First ISIS conviction over Yazidi Genocide

A German court sentenced a former Islamic State terrorist to a life term in prison for his involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity against minority Yazidis in Iraq and Syria, including the personal killing of a child.

By Erin Viner

In a landmark ruling, the Frankfurt court found 29-year-old Taha al-Jumailly guilty of murdering of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl he had enslaved, whom he left chained to a window to die in scorching heat in 2015 in Iraq.

The development marks the first genocide verdict against a member of Islamic State terror group, also known as ISIS or its Arabic acronym Daesh.

Jumailly is an Iraqi national who was arrested in Greece in 2019, and later extradited to Germany.

Relatives of Yazidis slain by ISIS served as plaintiffs in support of the prosecution, and the defendant’s German wife testified against him. The so-called ‘ISIS Bride,’ who was identified only as Jennifer W., was sentenced last month to 10 years behind bars for her own role in the enslavement of the Yazidi girl and her mother.

IS-jihadists are believed to have slaughtered of more than 3,000 Yazidis and enslaved some 7,000 women and girls in 2014-15.

This, during their seizure of large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq as part of a mission to create an ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) “Caliphate” beginning in 2014, before being ousted by United States-backed counter-offensives from their last territorial stronghold in 2019.

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority with Christian roots located in eastern Syria and northwest Iraq. The majority of the 550,000-strong community were displaced when the Islamic State conquered areas in which they were living, persecuting them as ‘devil worshippers’ for their faith that also combines strains of Jewish, Zoroastrian, Manichean and Muslim beliefs.

Meike Olszak of Amnesty International’s branch in Germany praised Jumaially’s conviction as “the first ever worldwide confirmation by a court that the crimes of Islamic State against the Yazidi religious group are genocide.”