ISIS Member Convicted of Genocide Against Yazidis in Landmark Trial

The verdict in a German court represents the first time a member of Islamic State has been found guilty of genocide.
November 30, 2021, 6:49pm
ISIS Member Convicted of Genocide Against Yazidis in Landmark Trial
Taha al-Jumailly is led into the courtroom in Frankfurt. Photo: FRANK RUMPENHORST/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

An Iraqi man who was a member of so-called Islamic State has been jailed for life for genocide committed against members of the Yazidi religious minority, in a landmark trial in Germany.

Taha al-Jumailly, 29, was also found guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes and human trafficking at the trial in Frankfurt.

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Jumailly was arrested alongside his German wife Jennifer Wenisch in Greece in 2019, before being extradited to Germany. They faced charges under the principle of universal jurisdiction for killing a 5-year-old Yazidi girl in Fallujah in 2015. Wenisch was jailed for 10 years over the girl’s death last month.

Prosecutors accused Jumailly of intentionally killing the girl by chaining her outside and depriving her of water during burning summer temperatures that can reach 50 degrees Celsius, all as a punishment for wetting the bed.

Jumailly’s conviction represents the first criminal trial addressing the genocide committed against the Yazidis, and also the first time a member of the Islamic State has been found guilty of genocide.

Nadia Murad, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner and a survivor of the Islamic State’s atrocities against the Yazidis, thanked Germany for the “historic conviction.”

“This verdict is a win for survivors of genocide, survivors of sexual violence, and the entire Yazidi community,” she said.

Thousands of Yazidis were captured by the Islamist militants during their rapid advance in Iraq in 2014. Islamic State fighters deemed the religious minority group living in the villages near Sinjar in the north of Mosul as “infidels,” and they rounded up thousands who were unable to flee their homes. The group enslaved thousands of women who were bought and sold between the fighters, who raped and sexually assaulted them.

Amal Clooney, a London-based human rights lawyer, and a member of the legal team representing the Yazidi victim saluted Germany’s efforts to bring Islamic State members to justice. 

“This is the moment Yazidis have been waiting for. To finally hear a judge, after 7 years, declare that what they suffered was genocide. To watch a man face justice for killing a Yazidi girl – because she was Yazidi. There is no more denying it – ISIS is guilty of genocide,” she said.