Survivors’ Council demands justice stipulated in the Yazidi Survivors Law, following televised interview with former ISIL leader’s wife

March 4, 2024

BAGHDAD — Members of the Survivors’ Council within the Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR), an alliance of Iraqi NGOs calling for comprehensive reparations for survivors of atrocity crimes perpetrated during the ISIL conflict in Iraq, demand that all who contributed to committing heinous crimes during the period of ISIL occupation in Iraq be prosecuted and held accountable.

This includes the prosecution of Asma Muhammad, the wife of former-ISIL leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who appeared in a television interview on February 15, 2024, during which she claimed that she had not engaged in any terrorist acts with ISIL. Muhammad also claimed that she rejected ISIL practices, including the sexual crimes they committed against Yazidi women and girls (Alsabi).

The Survivors’ Council calls on all investigative and judicial bodies and international committees concerned with investigating and gathering evidence to take appropriate and official measures to ensure justice. According to the testimony of some of the survivors, rather than a victim, Muhammad was an active member of the ISIL organization and participated in committing crimes against minor Yazidi women and girls.

Article 5, Section 9 of the Yazidi Survivors Law (YSL) stipulates that the General Directorate for Survivors’ Affairs undertakes, “Coordination with investigative and judicial bodies and international committees concerned with investigation and gathering evidence, and providing them with all statistics, data and evidence that contribute to documenting and establishing crimes committed by ISIS in a way that helps prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes.”

To date, as we approach the tenth anniversary of the Yazidi Genocide, Iraq has not prosecuted a single ISIL member for sexual slavery or genocide; instead, Iraq tries former ISIL members for participating in a terrorist organization, a flawed and unaccountable process. This being said, we commend the efforts of state authorities resulting in the apprehension and investigation of the family members of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

We hope that the evidence thus obtained will lead to convictions reflecting the extent and true nature of heinous crimes committed by ISIL. We also demand to be informed about such criminal proceedings, invited to attend trials and otherwise involved and protected in line with the YSL Article 9, Section 2.

Composed of individual survivors of the ISIL conflict in Iraq, the Survivors’ Council seeks to ensure that C4JR efforts are Survivor-centered, effective, and responsive to the needs of diverse survivors.

“We call on TV channels to stop conducting any interviews with the wives of ISIL members and their families, and also not to promote their allegation of victimhood without judicial evidence and proof.” — Member of the C4JR Survivors’ Council.

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