Shingal, March 17 (IANS/AKI) Kurdish authorities want the International Criminal Court to examine 25 mass graves in northern Iraq containing the bodies of Yazidis allegedly executed by the Islamic State militant group, a media report said on Thursday.
Kurdish officials want the ICC to recognise the mass killings as genocide committed by the IS against the Yazidi religious minority, local broadcaster Rudaw reported.
The evidence includes the Solage mass grave, east of the Yazidi town of Shingal, where remains of more than 70 people were found in November 2015.
Many of them were believed to be old men and women, who according to survivors were separated from their younger family members before being executed behind a city college.
“It is of utter importance that the ICC recognises the mass atrocity as genocide, which will give the Yazidis further protection in the future against similar attacks,” Jaafar Ibrahim, deputy speaker of the Kurdish parliament, was quoted as saying by Rudaw.
According to data from Iraq’s Kurdistan region, nearly 2,500 Yazidis are confirmed dead, most of them in mass executions that took place when the IS captured Shingal in August 2014, it said.
But the number could be substantially higher, said the Office of Yazidi Affairs in Kurdistan.
The exact number of Yazidis killed or abducted by the militants has been hard to establish, as many Yazidi families chose not to return to their areas and continue to stay in refugee camps across the Kurdistan region, Rudaw reported.
Tens of thousands of Yazidis have also left the country as refugees for Germany, where there is already a sizable Yazidi community in exile, according to Iraq’s migration office.
The ICC, an inter-governmental organisation and an international court at The Hague in the Netherlands, can indict individuals and groups for genocide and crimes against humanity.
The UN Security Council or individual states can refer investigations to the ICC for international prosecutions.