A German court Tuesday convicted a former Islamic State member of the 2015 murder of a 5-year-old Yazidi girl.
Taha al-Jumailly, an Iraqi national, was also sentenced to serve life in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity. He was ordered to pay the victim’s mother, who survived captivity, $57,000.
It is the first genocide verdict against an Islamic State member.
"This is the moment Yazidis have been waiting for," said lawyer Amal Clooney, who acted as a counsel for the mother. "To finally hear a judge, after seven years, declare that what they suffered was genocide. To watch a man face justice for killing a Yazidi girl — because she was Yazidi."
German prosecutors said al-Jumailly bought the mother and child as slaves in Syria in 2015. He then took them to Fallujah in Iraq where he beat them and didn’t give them enough food.
In 2015, al-Jumailly chained the girl to window bars in a room where the temperature reached 50 degrees Celsius. The girl died.
In 2019, al-Jumailly was arrested in Greece and extradited to Germany, where authorities took the case using the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Al-Jumailly’s German wife was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison for her involvement in the case. She was a witness for the prosecution in al-Jumailly's trial.
In 2014, IS rampaged through the Yazidi heartland in northern Iraq. In many cases, it forced young women into sex slavery. Many in the Yazidi community, which numbers more than half-a-million, were displaced.
In 2016, a U.N. commission declared the IS treatment of the Yazidis inside Syria as a genocide.
"We can only hope that [this case] will serve as a milestone for further cases to follow," Zemfira Dlovani, a lawyer and member of Germany’s Central Council of Yazidis, told The Associated Press, noting that thousands of Yazidi women were enslaved and mistreated by the Islamic State group. "This should be the beginning, not the end."
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.