News / USA

    Kerry: IS Atrocities Are Genocide

    Kerry: IS Terror Tactics Are Genocidei
    X
    March 17, 2016 1:53 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he has determined that atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) group constitute genocide.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has determined that atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria constitute genocide.
     
    “My purpose in appearing before you today is to assert that in my judgment Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shi'ite Muslims," Kerry said Thursday, referring to IS by the Arabic term Daesh.

    "Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, in what it believes and what it does,” Kerry said. "Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups, and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds and other minorities.”
     
    Kerry's declaration met a March 17 congressional deadline for the Obama administration to make a decision about atrocities the Islamic State group has committed against religious and ethnic minorities. Just a day earlier, Kerry had indicated that decision might take longer.

    The genocide declaration means the United States would prosecute any Islamic State member in the U.S., but it does not obligate any specific American action against the terror group in Syria or Iraq, where U.S. warplanes have been striking IS targets for months.

    Experts on international law and genocide told VOA the U.S. could bring the issue before the United Nations Security Council and human-rights bodies, which could, in turn, ask the International Criminal Court to charge members of the extremist group.
     
    “Ultimately the full facts must be brought to light by an independent investigation and through formal legal determination made by a competent court or tribunal, but the United States would strongly support efforts to collect document, preserve and analyze the evidence of atrocities, “ Kerry said.

    The top U.S. diplomat said he hopes the U.S. stand “will assure the victims of Daesh’s atrocities that the United States recognizes and confirms the despicable nature of the crimes that have been committed against them.”

    WATCH: Genocide Designation Could Have Several Results

    Genocide Designation Could Have Several Resultsi
    X
    March 16, 2016 2:14 AM
    The U.S. State Department says Secretary of State John Kerry is studying the legal definition of genocide and should have a decision "soon" on whether Islamic State atrocities in Iraq and Syria fit that definition. A U.S. genocide designation against the terrorist group could set the stage for additional U.S. or international action against the group. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.

    Congressional reaction

    The genocide declaration was welcomed by the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Relations.  "Secretary Kerry is finally making the right call," Congressman Ed Royce said in a statement.
     
    Gregory Stanton, a research professor of genocide studies at George Mason University, outside Washington, is president of a group called Genocide Watch. He told VOA the U.S. is only required to prosecute Islamic State members who are found to be in the United States following the official genocide designation that Kerry made Thursday.

    The State Department says acknowledging that genocide or crimes against humanity have taken place in another country would not necessarily result in any legal obligation for the United States. However, a U.S. designation of genocide would have certain policy implications.
     
    "The genocide resolution does have particular meaning when it comes to migration for emergency purposes," Representative Jeff Fortenberry told VOA. "For instance, if this is declared by the State Department, you may see more prioritization given to those who are in severe threat of having their life eliminated."

    What is Genocide?

    Genocide is defined as the deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.

    Fortenberry represents a district in Nebraska that has a substantial population of Yazidis, a Kurdish religious group whose members in northern Iraq have been attacked and victimized by Islamic State's terror tactics.

    "When there is a systematic attempt to exterminate another group of people, Fortenberry told VOA, "it's not only an injustice, it's an assault on human dignity and therefore a threat to the civilization itself."

    The last State Department designation of genocide was in 2004, by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in response to murders and mass rapes in Sudan's Darfur region.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    March 18, 2016 1:30 AM
    ISIS is an extension of who Turks really are.

    Turks are committing genocide right now, in Turkey.

    Turks are killing Kurds.

    Turks have committed genocides in the past too, millions of Christians and Yezidis.

    by: Reid Barnes
    March 17, 2016 1:00 PM
    Who were the instigators of the Syrian genocide? Wikipedia: "On 18 May 2011, U.S. President Barack Obama signed an Executive order putting into effect sanctions against Assad in an effort to pressure his regime 'to end its use of violence against its people and begin transitioning to a democratic system that protects the rights of the Syrian people.

    '"Where are the executive orders against Saudi Arabia? And where was the congressional authorization for sanctions against Syria, not to mention for funneling weapons to Islamist fighters to "protect the rights of the Syrian people"? The Obama administration admitted in congressional testimony that it funneled over 600 tons of weapons to Islamist fighters in Syria.

    And there is a disturbing connection between what happened in Libya and the Syrian civil war. From one article(WSJ): “The utter failure of Western policy in both Libya and Syria has to be seen for what it is: not just a political blunder but a humanitarian crime.” Who were the state supporters behind the war? Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi was president? NATO, which includes Turkey, and …
    In Response

    by: annymous from: usa
    March 17, 2016 4:21 PM
    I agree about sanction against Saudi Arabia .without Saudi ,isis will not survive. America will not help those killed as the fanatic version of Islam. we have to address the issue of radical Islam for many years .

    by: Bill Wiley from: Olympia, WA
    March 17, 2016 10:08 AM
    It is about time John Kerry made up his mind on the issue of Genocide! I HATE STUPID POLITICIANS!

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora