Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said her interviews with young Yazidi girls raped and enslaved by Isis presented the "most harrowing testimony" she has ever heard – while Isis carries out a genocide against the ethnic group with impunity.
"I have interviewed former child soldiers and young girls who were raped and enslaved by Isis. It has been the most harrowing testimony I have ever heard," Clooney told the BBC.
"We know it is Genocide, the UN has said so. In other words, Isis is trying to destroy them as a group and we are allowing it to happen without actually calling Isis to account," she added.
Clooney is calling on United Nations to investigate the genocide against Yazidis, persecuted at the hands of Isis. The Doughty Street Chambers' barrister is also demanding an investigation into whether Islamic State has committed crimes against humanity due to 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 Isis 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 Isis 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 Isis slaughter of religious minorities, such as Christians and Yazidis, as genocide.
"The first step that should be taken is for evidence to be collected on the ground because we know that it's disappearing. So there are mass graves that are being discovered – just a few days ago, in Mosul, a huge mass grave – that's thought to have 4,000 bodies in it – was discovered and there is other types of evidence as well," Clooney said.
The barrister, who is expecting twins with her famous actor husband George Clooney, was asked to comment on whether she has found the publicity of her high profile marriage helpful in her work.
"There is lots of my work that takes place behind closed doors that is not ever seen. I think if there are more people who now understand what is happening about the Yazidis and Isis and if there can be some action that results from that, that can help those clients and I think that it is a really good thing to give that case the extra publicity that it may get," she said.
"But if you don't have a good case and a good message then shining a light on it is not going to get you very far," Clooney added.