Kurdistan Region Parliament will vote on establishing Islamic State court after Eid
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In its next sitting after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the Kurdistan Region parliament is expected to pass a bill establishing a criminal court to try Islamic State (ISIS) suspects, according to a lawmaker.
“Having a law relating to the crimes Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS) committed in the legal system of Kurdistan Region is important. The group has committed the most inhumane crimes against the people of Kurdistan, especially Yazidi Kurds and civilians in the areas not administered by the Region,” Khadija Omer, a member of the parliament’s legislative committee, told the official website of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) on Thursday.
“This is an important step towards justice,” she added.
ISIS seized control of large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria in 2014, killing and abducting thousands of people, committing genocide against the Yazidi minority, and forcing millions to flee their homes.
Thousands of suspected militants have been arrested in Iraq and Syria. About 400 are in Kurdistan Region’s jails, most of them have already been tried and convicted, Dindar Zebari, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) coordinator for international advocacy, told Rudaw English on Friday.
The KRG is coordinating with the United Nations team investigating ISIS crimes in Iraq (UNITAD). Zebari said they have submitted thousands of witness statements and pieces of evidence to UNITAD over the past one and a half years.
If parliament passes the bill and the court established, the UN will assist in training investigators and judges. “Case files will be prepared by UNITAD in collaboration with the court. The first cases will be Shingal cases, Yazidi cases,” Zebari said.
He could not estimate how many potential cases the court could hear, but “Any ISIL [ISIS] member who can be identified [could be brought] to court, regardless if they are in the KRG, in Iraq, or in different countries.”
The MP Omer expects the bill will be voted on and passed in the parliament’s next session, likely after the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
Masrour Barzani announced the approval of the draft in a statement last week.
In the statement, he called on UNITAD and the international community to “increase judicial support and training in the preparation for the first public trial. In this legislation, members of the international community are also called upon to provide assistance and contribute towards a fund in support of the victims.”