Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Chair of Yazidi Justice Committee (YJC), has provide this video address relating to YJC’s report entitled “State Responsibility and the Genocide of the Yazidis” (Report). The Report was published, on 6 July, in the UK House of Lords at a side event to the International Ministerial Conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief hosted by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office between 5-6 July in London. A transcript of the video address appears immediately below the video.
'Starting in 2014 – but on notice of what would come since 2013 - the Yazidis suffered genocide at the hands of ISIS, the Islamic State. Have we all forgotten that?
The Yazidis are still at risk. Do we care?
The worst of Yazidi suffering - to date - happened almost a decade ago and many dreadful things, worse perhaps, have happened elsewhere since. Is it time simply to 'move on'?
The Genocide Convention tells us why not.
The Convention was drafted in 1948 by those who had the experience of two recent world wars in which over 60 million - yes 60 million - people died who might have lived; all through the stupidity and wickedness of man.
The drafters of the Convention in 1948 had first-hand understanding that the evil of which they knew from two world wars, included the evil of attempting to destroy an entire people – a part of planet Earth itself - simply because of who they were: the Jews in the Second World War, the Armenians, amongst others, in the First World War.
Their understanding came without the knowledge we now have that Earth may be the only place in the galaxy of about 20 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way that supports intelligent life.
Taking away from an entity or a part of any entity that is beautiful, individual, with its own integrity, identity and culture is bad enough. Taking away a part of a single, sometimes beautiful, planet when that planet needs every element of goodness and intelligence on its surface, the better to exist and to save it from its own self-destruction is madness heaped on evil. That is what the genocide of the Yazidis has been – madness heaped on evil.
So, what to do with this Report? Read it – properly. Learn how the mechanisms we do have in place could have saved the Yazidis from what is now part of their past and part or their past partial destruction. Learn how the same mechanisms properly activated can save the Yazidis from suffering more of the same - or worse. But also learn how we risk ending intelligence itself in tragedies to come if we fail to ensure that our governments do what they can, and should, do to use law that is at hand to save the present tragedy from what yet may be done to peaceable, cultured, harmless, kind and generous people – the Yazidis.
The Yazidis – whose future is at risk just as it was with the Jews - must be saved and that can be done by naming and controlling those who would wish them dead or who by their genocidal failings to act would see them dead and the planet impoverished as a result.
And with that the Genocide Convention may be able to help.
This Report is the result of detailed scholarship and investigative research. Its factual conclusions are those that any court will reach.
Conclusions include that there are reasonable grounds to conclude that Iraq, Syria and Turkey from April 2013 onwards failed to take all means reasonably available to them to prevent the genocide of the Yazidi, in circumstances where they had the special capacity to influence the circumstances and/or possible perpetrators of the genocide. That failure is continuing to the present day.
Should we tolerate a repeat of the same? Or should our governments take those countries to task – and even to a court – that could have saved these people and that could save them still? Doing that, as the Report explains, may avoid repetition of the genocide of the Yazidis that has already happened. Seeing the law applied by other countries, 'Parties to the Convention', might just help us all save planet Earth from becoming the biblical Armageddon we now more readily fear. '