On this day in 2017, human rights attorney Amal Clooney used her voice to address a United Nations event about the crimes of ISIS. By her side was her client — human rights activist Nadia Murad Basee Taha.
Six months earlier, Clooney had spoken at the U.N. on the same issue, asking for immediate action against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh).
Nothing had been done.
When ISIS took over the Yazidis’ traditional homeland in northern Iraq in 2014, they kidnapped, raped and enslaved nearly 7,000 Yazidi women, including Murad — who also lost her mother and six brothers and step-brothers in a single day.
“ISIS should be held accountable in a court of law for its crimes,” Clooney told the members of the Security Council Meeting. “What is needed now is moral leadership to make it happen.”
She asked Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to send a letter to the U.N. Security Council requesting a vote on investigating ISIS war crimes.
“ISIS is a bureaucracy of evil, leaving a trail of evidence behind it that no one is picking up.” she said.
“It has kicked bodies into uncovered mass graves. It set up a committee for the buying and selling of slaves” and courts to “legalize” the purchase of women as property.”
Clooney told the UN that killing ISIS on the battlefield is not enough – “we must also kill the idea behind ISIS by exposing its brutality and bringing individual criminals to justice.”
Six months later, the Security Council passed Resolution 2379 to do just that: launch an investigation and preserve evidence that would help bring charges against ISIS leaders. In late 2017, ISIS retreated from Iraq.
Murad founded Nadia’s Initiative, dedicated to helping women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking heal and rebuild their lives.
In 2018, she and Denis Mukwege were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for their human rights work and their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.
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