IRAQ: Kurdish authorities reiterate support for bringing crimes against Yazidis and Christians to justice

ERBIL, Iraq – On Monday, Nechirvan Barzani, the president of the Kurdish Region in Iraq, reiterated his support to the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIS (UNITAD). President Barzani stated that holding ISIS terrorists accountable for their crimes and bringing justice for the victim’s families is also priority of authorities in the Kurdish Region in Iraq (KRI).

Barzani said that, “all those involved in crimes committed against the people of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq, including crimes committed against Yezidis, Christians and other religious communities, must face justice.” His remarks came after a phone call with UNITAD-Iraq head Karim Khan prior to Khan presenting his fourth progress report on the UNITAD mission to the UN Security Council.

The Kurdish Region in Iraq has suffered ISIS atrocities and terror. In 2014 ISIS intended to attack Erbil and was only pushed back after US fighter jets were called in to bomb ISIS back from the KRI border. In the prior months, ISIS had taken large swathes of northern Iraq.

Mosul, Sinjar and the Nineveh Plains had fallen into the hands of ISIS as the Iraqi army and the KRI’s Peshmerga army were not able to defend them. The Kurdish Peshmerga was mobilized in parts of northern Iraq and also in the Nineveh Plain. The Chaldeans-Syriacs-Assyrians of the Nineveh Plain had armed themselves and set up protection forces and units which were disarmed by the Peshmerga. When in August 2014 ISIS swept the Nineveh Plain the Peshmerga and the Nineveh Plain residents fled. Between 120 and 150 thousand resident fled and were displaced to among others the Kurdish Region in Iraq.