The return of Shingal’s people and the ISIS’ crimes documentation process, between pros and cons

Ezidi 24 – Dyab Ghanem
Translation – Tahseen Alhaskany

The ISIS terrorist organization committed numerous crimes in Shingal district, in western Nineveh province/northern Iraq, when it attacked the district in August 2014, left behind dozens of mass and individual graves, in addition to booby-trapping homes and kidnapping thousands of residents of the district.

The Yazidi community has devoted its organizations and individuals most of its attention to documenting these crimes to the recognition of what happened to Yazidis and other components that were present in Shingal as a crime of genocide.

There is also work and concern at the global level with the Yazidi issue, and they are also trying to document all the crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq and especially Shingal district to work on them and help the persecuted people.

The director of the Yazidi Organization for Documentation, Hossam Abdullah, spoke to “Ezidi 24”, and said, “The importance of documenting crimes in Shingal is an essential and ongoing task and not a temporary Process, because the crimes that committed are international crimes and genocide, and international crimes often need a long time and not a short process an example of this is the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 20th century, and despite its international recognition that it is genocide, the work continues to search for and collect the remains of victims, and therefore the documentation continues in Shingal and will continue.

He also said, “Return is a positive and important thing for several reasons. Firstly, adherence to the land. Secondly, protection of evidence. Thirdly, protection of mass graves from tampering and sabotage. Fourthly, in order to compel the state to implement transitional justice measures for victims and their families, which include considered compensation, restitution of victims, reparation, and protection from non-commission of what happened again and holding the perpetrators accountable with the participation of victims and their families in the trial procedures that take place for those responsible, and that return compels the state to take these steps.”

“Our returning honorable families need to draw attention to the following, firstly to report any criminal evidence they find, secondly not to prejudice, play, or tamper with any of this evidence, whether it is clothes, bones, or gunshots, or any of that evidence, as it is criminal evidence, otherwise the person is exposed to the legal accountability.” Thirdly, reporting is either to the police, the judiciary, or organizations that have an obligation to help inform the relevant government agencies, and we must be exempt from some of the actions that took place a few days ago in tampering with one of the graves that have been found, thus losing the rights of their relatives, as well as the work is still ongoing, whether the international investigation team UNITAD or the local organizations concerned with documentation and others, and the investigation and documentation processes are still ongoing and the people must pay attention to that,” He said.

And Abdullah said, “We -in the Yazidi Organization for Documentation- call on our honorable people to cooperate and exercise caution in order to protect and preserve this evidence, because what happened is an international crime and is genocide and we need documents in order to prove it internationally.”

The Shingalian youth man , Dawod Khalil, also spoke to “Ezidi 24” and said, “Documentation is an important thing for me and for all the Yazidi community because it is the only thing that we can get our rights and the rights of our martyrs and the rights of ISIS victims, so more and more attention must be paid to it.”

He also said, “The return of the people has a somewhat negative effect, because there are many graves that have not yet been discovered, and the people are burning what is around them for the purpose of cleaning and also plowing the lands, and this is a dangerous thing that can hide the effects of these crimes in those areas.”

“We must all, especially the new returnees, inform the government authorities of what they see as evidence if a previously undiscovered document is discovered, while the open documents must be observed more and more than everything,” Khalil added.

He concluded his speech by saying, “There are many other things documenting what happened to us, including explosive roads, tunnels and houses that were destroyed completely, that must be preserved and documented, so that they are disclosed by the relevant committees”.

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