A United Nations team investigating atrocities in Iraq has confirmed what anyone paying attention already knew: The Islamic State group committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014. The UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL (UNITAD) brought legal evidence backing its conclusion in a report released Monday to the UN Security Council. Islamic State also committed war crimes against predominantly Shia cadets and personnel from the Tikrit Air Academy who were captured, tortured and subjected to mass killings. Islamic State also developed chemical weapons and used mustard gas, according to the report. The UN team came into possession of more evidence over the last six months, including forensic evidence from mass gravesites and digital data extracted from hard drives that belonged to Islamic State. Thousands of Yazidis were killed in mass executions after refusing to convert to Islam or were shot while fleeing from ISIS, or died of exposure after fleeing to Mount Sinjar. Thousands of women and children were abducted, forced into slavery, and subjected to serial rape and other forms of sexual violence, in many cases, leading to their deaths. Karim Khan, a British lawyer who has been tapped to serve as the next chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, is leading the investigation. UNITAD plans to complete case briefs on the Yazidi genocide that can be used in prosecutions within five months. By the end of 2021, it also expects to complete case briefs on crimes committed against Christian, Kaka’i, Shabak, Shia Turkmen and Sunni communities in Iraq, as well as the massacre of predominantly Shia inmates at Badush prison. And the horrific crimes continue: Around 2,800 women and children remain in captivity, held as slaves held by Islamic State.
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