Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney is hoping to represent thousands of Yazidi families persecuted at the hands of the Islamic State (Isis). The 38-year-old is also demanding an investigation into whether Daesh (Isis) have committed crimes against humanity by several massacres of the sect.
The Yazidis homeland, near Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, was decimated in August 2014 and since then thousands of men, women and children have been murdered by the jihadists. The extremists regard the ethnically-Kurdish Yazidis as heretics as their ancient beliefs include parts of Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
The UN estimate that IS are holding between 1,800 and 3,500 Yazidi women and children captive as sex slaves – part of an illicit slave trade. Over 700 escaped rape victims from the ethnic group have been treated at a UN-backed clinic in northern Iraq.
Despite 400,000 people being displaced after the IS advance, Kurdish forces have now liberated much of their homeland and discovered dozens of shallow graves – thought to contain hundreds of civilians. In February the European Parliament unanimously passed a resolution recognising the IS slaughter of religious minorities, including Christians and Yazidis, as genocide.
Now Clooney hopes to represent Yazidi women kidnapped, raped and enslaved by IS at The Hague International Criminal Court (ICC). The Beirut-born lawyer demands that IS are prosecuted by the ICC for crimes against humanity committed against the Yazidis.
"We know that thousands of Yazidi civilians have been killed and that thousands of Yazidi women have been enslaved by a terrorist organization, IS, that has publicly proclaimed its genocidal intent," Clooney told the New York Times' Women in the World.
"We know that systematic rapes have taken place, and that they are still taking place. And yet no one is being held to account. It is time that we see ISIS commanders in the dock in The Hague, and I am honoured to have been asked to represent Nadia and the Yazidi community in their quest for legal accountability."
Clooney, the husband of Hollywood actor George, is an Oxford graduate and a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in international law and human rights law. She is offering her services free of charge.
The ICC has an annual budget of €139.5million (£109.17million) with victims of crimes against humanity and genocide awarded compensation from the ICC's victim trust fund. This is to "provide physical, psychological, and material support to victims and their families".