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EP (16.12.2016) – In a resolution adopted this Thursday 15 December, MEPs expressed overwhelming dismay over the ongoing discoveries of new mass graves in Iraq and Syria. They condemn “without reservation” the continuing atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS/Daesh and express their condolences to all those in Iraq who have suffered as a result.

The Iraqi authorities should “take urgent steps” to protect the gravesites around the newly recaptured Mount Sinjar area, where thousands of victims are reportedly buried, in order to ensure accountability. Protecting these gravesites is essential to achieving justice for the Yazidi victims of mass killings by ISIS/Daesh, which amount to genocide, stress MEPs.

Parliament reiterates its “full support to the Iraqi army, the armies of the global anti-ISIS/Daesh coalition, the Peshmerga forces of the KRG and their allies in their efforts to liberate Mosul and other parts of the country from ISIS/Daesh presence”.

The full resolution is available at http://bit.ly/2gFhDBp. Here is the part detailing the stance of the European Parliament:

The Parliament

1. Condemns without reservation the continuing atrocities and flagrant violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed by ISIS/Daesh; notes with overwhelming dismay the ongoing discoveries of new mass graves in Iraq and Syria, which are evidence of the terror committed by ISIS/Daesh; expresses its condolences to all those in Iraq who have lost their relatives as a result of the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by ISIS/Daesh and its affiliates;

2. Strongly appeals to the international community, in particular to the UN Security Council, to consider the reported mass graves in Iraq as further evidence of genocide and to refer ISIS/Daesh to the International Criminal Court (ICC);

3. Calls on the Iraqi authorities, including the KRG, to take urgent steps to protect the gravesites around Mount Sinjar that became accessible after the area was recaptured from ISIS/Daesh, and to take all other necessary measures to preserve the evidence of the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS/Daesh, in order to ensure accountability;

4. Calls on the Iraqi authorities to invite international forensic experts, including those with experience of working before criminal tribunals, to map all the mass graves and help preserve and analyse the evidence found in newly accessible mass graves, since exhumations without forensic experts can destroy critical evidence and greatly complicate the identification of bodies;

5. Calls for the EU, its Member States and other potential international donors to facilitate and lend their full support to the Government of Iraq in setting up the human resources and infrastructure needed for the preservation and analysis of evidence that could be vital to future domestic and international accountability processes aimed at addressing war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide;

6. Is particularly alarmed by the situation of women and children in the conflict, in particular the Yazidi women and children who are victims of persecution, executions, torture, sexual exploitation and other atrocities; insist that a full range of medical services should be made available, in particular for rape victims; calls, as a matter of urgency, for the EU and its Members States to work closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and to support it to this end; calls for the immediate release of all women and children who remain captives of ISIS/Daesh;

7. Reiterates its full support to the Iraqi army, the armies of the global anti-ISIS/Daesh coalition, the Peshmerga forces of the KRG and their allies in their efforts to liberate Mosul and other parts of the country from ISIS/Daesh presence, as well as its support for Iraq’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty;

8. Recalls that the Iraqi authorities must take concrete steps to protect civilians during the campaign, including by taking all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties and human rights violations during the assault; stresses that the forces on the ground must abide by international humanitarian and human rights law during their operations;

9. Expresses its support for the Republic of Iraq and its people in recognising a politically, socially and economically viable and sustainable province in the Nineveh Plain, Tal Afar and Sinjar regions, consistent with lawful expressions of regional autonomy, as guaranteed by the Iraqi constitution;

10. Stresses that the right to return to their ancestral homeland for the displaced indigenous peoples of the Nineveh Plain, Tal Afar and Sinjar – many of whom are displaced within Iraq – should be a policy priority of the Iraqi Government, supported by the EU, including its Member States, and the international community; emphasises that, with the support of the Government of Iraq and the KRG, these peoples should have their human rights, including political equality, fully guaranteed, as well as their property rights, which should supersede any claims of property rights by others;

11. Urges Iraq to become a member of the ICC in order to make it possible to prosecute ISIS/Daesh for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity;

12. Calls on the international community, including the EU Member States, to bring to justice ISIS/Daesh members within their jurisdiction, including by applying the principle of universal jurisdiction;

13. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, the Governments and the Parliaments of the Member States, the Government and the Council of Representatives of Iraq, and the Regional Government of Kurdistan. 

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