France and Sweden prosecute ISIS for crimes against Christians and Yazidis
France and Sweden have announced the decision to organize a joint investigation team to hold former members of ISIS accountable for their crimes against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq, according to a report from Voice of America.
The two countries join an existing effort in Europe organized by Yazidi groups for governments to continue identifying individual perpetrators of the 2014 genocide against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.
French and Swedish officials will work in coordination with the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust) to identify and investigate crimes committed by foreign militants with links to ISIS.
In a statement, Eurojust clarified the goal of the new partnership. “The main aim of the JIT [Joint Investigation Team] will be to identify FTFs [foreign terrorist fighters] who were involved in core international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, primarily perpetrated against members of the Yazidi minority during the armed conflict in Syria and Iraq,” said the group in a recent statement.
During ISIS’ expansion and capture of Iraq’s Nineveh Plains, the extremist group killed or enslaved thousands of Christians and Yazidis who had lived there for centuries. To escape the violence, hundreds of thousands of members from these religious communities fled the region. Following ISIS’ defeat in 2017, many leaders have encouraged Christians and Yazidis to repatriate the lands, though many still fear for their safety upon return to Iraq and Syria.