ISIS used chemical weapons against Iraqis between 2014 and 2016, a report by the UN investigation body for ISIS crimes said this week, urging authorities to seek justice.
The terrorist group, which took over large areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014, declared a so-called caliphate and imposed a reign of terror over northern Iraq that included public beheadings and the sexual enslavement of Yazidi women. “A new investigation was opened with respect to the development and use of chemical and biological weapons by ISIS in Iraq has developed rapidly”, said a report by the UN investigative body, known as UNITAD.
The agency was created to bring ISIS suspects to justice. “Through the collection of a diverse range of evidence, the team has confirmed the repeated deployment of chemical weapons by ISIS against civilian populations in Iraq between 2014 and 2016, as well as the testing of biological agents on prisoners”, said the report.
Under pressure from human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and Yazidi survivors, the UN Security Council in 2017 created UNITAD to help Iraq collect and preserve evidence for future prosecution.
“Weaponised vesicants, nerve agents and toxic industrial compounds are suspected to have been used”, the report indicated. The report’s findings that portrayed ISIS’ use of “indigenous chemical weapons capability” may present an “unprecedented moment for accountability in modern conflict with respect to non-state actors”.
UNITAD has finalized an initial case brief addressing the legal characterization of the crimes committed against the Yazidis community. It will propose that ISIS’ crimes against the minority group amount to war crimes and genocide.