Debate on UK government recognising Daesh killings as genocide

On 20 April the House of Commons will debate a motion calling on the Government to recognise ISIS/Daesh killings as ‘genocide’.

Fiona Bruce, Ian Blackford, Jonathan Reynolds, Jim Shannon, Sir Edward Leigh, Stephen Timms
John Pugh, Mark Durkan, Mr Philip Hollobone

That this House believes that Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria are suffering Genocide at the hands of Daesh; and calls on the Government to make an immediate Referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring jurisdiction upon the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.

On 15 April the House of Commons Library published a research briefing:

There have been calls for ISIS massacres and other abuses of religious and ethnic minorities in the areas it controls to be recognised as ‘genocide’. A Commons debate on ‘Recognition of genocide by Daesh against Yazidis, Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities’ on Wednesday 20 April 2016 calls on the Government to refer the ‘genocide’ to the UN Security Council, in order to give the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction.

Under the 1948 Genocide Convention, genocide is defined as mass killings or other acts intended to destroy a particular group of people. States must prevent or punish genocide, individually or through the UN, and the ICC can be involved if it has jurisdiction (which it has so far concluded it does not).

In the UK there is no clear process for officially recognising events as genocide, but the UK can prosecute people for genocide even if it took place outside the UK (after 1991).

There have been many instances where ISIS abuses of Yazidis, Christians and Shia Muslims may amount to genocide; indeed it may be part of the ISIS strategy to commit the most serious atrocities possible.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry, the US House of Representatives, the European Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have all described ISIS atrocities as ‘genocide’.

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