Back  print Printable Version   date posted 06-04-2018, 07:22:30 AM

Bring ISIS to justice for war crimes against Yazidis

Nadia was just 15 when ISIS fighters swarmed into her homeland. She says she was kidnapped, bought and sold by men who told her they owned her, and repeatedly raped by them.

Three years on, the traumatized Yazidi is finally free of her captors, but remains trapped in a living nightmare, fearing the ISIS militants could still get to her, or worse, kill members of her family.

The frail 18-year-old former slave doesn't even know if her mother, father and brother are still alive.

At a meeting in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, she hides behind her cousin, one hand clenching her relative's shirt, the other holding tight to her own dress. Shell-shocked, she cannot remember how many younger siblings she has, and struggles to recall their names.
Nadia (not her real name) was among thousands of Yazidis captured by ISIS in August 2014 when the terror group launched an assault on Sinjar, then home to more than half a million members of this minority group.

In the days that followed, ISIS fighters split up families, executed the men and declared the women their slaves.

Nadia and and her older sister Amira were separated from the rest of the family. Their mother was pregnant at the time, and Nadia doesn't know where she - or her baby - is now.

The sisters were bused to several Iraqi towns like cattle, she recalls. They were taken to Mosul and locked up in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces.

It was here, Nadia says, that she witnessed an incident that still haunts her: ISIS militants took a child away from his mother as she screamed for him. Her captors responded by hitting her on the head. Nadia still doesn't know what happened to the pair at the hands of the terrorists.

"They would tell us we sold you, we bought you," she says. "There were days we would wish we would die so no one says they sold us ... Beating and everything else is bearable, but not selling."