The Yezidi preserve an indigenous culture in the areas now covered by northern Iraq, northeast Syria, and southern Turkey that dates back to Sumerian times, approximately 6500 BCE. The people now known as Yezidi founded a kingdom called Abdo and we were called sun worshipers.
Ezidikhan is the Yezidi nation of Mesopotamia, its proud yet peaceful people, and its ancient heritage dating from the dawn of humanity. Historically, Yazidis lived primarily in Iraq, Turkey, and Syria. However, events since the end of the 20th Century have resulted in considerable demographic shifts in these areas as well as mass emigration. Today, the majority of the Yazidi population lives in Iraq and are particularly concentrated in the Nineveh Plains and Sinjar areas in the Nineveh Province in northern Iraq.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, calling itself Islamic State) is recognized by the United Nations as the perpetrator of a genocide of Yezidis in Iraq. The genocide led to the expulsion, flight and effective exile of the Yezidis from their ancestral lands in Northern Iraq whose women and girls were forced into sexual slavery by the Islamic State and whose men were killed by the thousands. The genocide led to the abduction of Yezidi women and massacres that killed five thousand Yezidi civilians during what has been called a “forced conversion campaign” being carried out in Northern Iraq by ISIL, starting in 2014. The genocide happened following the Kurdish Peshmerga withdrawal, which left the Yezidis defenseless.
ISIL’s persecution of the Yezidis gained international attention and led to the American-led intervention in Iraq, which started with United States airstrikes against ISIL. Additionally, the US, UK, and Australia made emergency airdrops to Yezidis who had fled to a mountain range and provided weapons to the Kurdish Peshmerga who had a role in defending the Yezidis, together with PKK and YPG forces. ISIL’s actions against the Yezidi population have resulted in approximately 500,000 refugees and several thousand killed and kidnapped. The Yezidis have also had their human rights violated by terrorist organizations who began killing the Yezidis.
Program of Action
The Government of Ezidikhan has drawn up a proposed program of action plan and budget for planning, organizing and conducting a Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples subjected to alleged crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity including cultural genocide and ecocide. The planning and organizing phase is expected to commence in April 2020. The first biennial budget (April 2020 – December 2021) calls for establishing the planning and organization team that will facilitate the establishment of the International Independent Commission for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples that will authorize the Mechanism for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples. Central to the concept of justice is “accountability.” Justice for an aggrieved party may mean economic compensation, assurance of fairness of the process, some form of restitution, punishment, or a combination of these. Each form of justice demands accountability, defined as the ability to hold violators of law responsible for their actions.
The proposed program of action anticipates that the planning, organizing, and conduct of Tribunal will require an estimated 81 months. The Tribunal Mechanism will be located in a host country in the Middle East, require the development of facilities and employ an estimated 260 legal, diplomatic, communications, investigative, administrative and document management professionals and support personnel. Government and non-governmental sponsorship of the Tribunal Mechanism, its Secretariat and Commission have been established.
International Independent Commission for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples
The International Independent Commission for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples supported by a General Secretariat shall serve as the oversight organization comprised of 29 internationally recognized experts representing indigenous nations, international states, non-governmental organizations and indigenous and state multilateral organizations. Membership will consist of ten State authorized designees, ten Indigenous nations authorized designees, and three representatives each from NGOs and indigenous and state multi-lateral organizations. The General Secretariat is responsible for organizing appointments from each entity. The Commission shall plan, organize and authorize the Mechanism for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples. The mission of the Commission is to oversee the Tribunal and ensure international and local recognition and agreement of judicial decisions.
The General Secretariat shall serve as the policy, administrative and budgetary support to the International Independent Commission for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples comprised of a Secretary-General, eight expert senior staff (Executive Assistant, Policy Director, Chief of Staff, Deputy Secretary for State Diplomacy, Deputy Secretary for Indigenous Nation Diplomacy, Deputy Secretary for Legal Affairs, Deputy Secretary for Social and Health Affairs, Deputy Secretary for Communications and Public Information, and supporting personnel. The General Secretariat provides research, recommendations, and analysis in these specified fields for the benefit of Commissioners as they plan, authorize and oversee the Tribunal. The General Secretariat functions on a continuous basis each biennium drawing additionally on the ad hoc services of expert consultants to augment the specialized fields. It also provides administrative support with services including personnel supervision, communications flow, documents and records management, diplomatic coordination with states and indigenous nations, and development and distribution of Commission public information. The mission of the Secretariat is to plan and organize the Commission and upon official Commission inauguration serve as its research, policy, analytical, and administrative organ.
The Mechanism for the Criminal Tribunal for Yezidi and Neighboring Peoples is partially modeled on the organizational structure of the International Criminal Tribunal on Rwanda with full recognition that indigenous peoples are the primary parties affected by alleged acts of criminal genocide and crimes against humanity. Based on the Rwanda model it is expected that the Mechanism shall include Chambers, Office of the Prosecutor, Registry and Records Management & Archives. The Mechanism is responsible for hearing, conducting trials, hearing appeals of accused persons, preparing and presenting prosecution cases, identifying suspects or suspected agents, providing translations and interpretations, providing detention, public information, outreach, legal aid to petitioners, enforcement of sentences, cooperating with the host state and indigenous nations and overall administration of the Tribunal as a whole. The Mechanism administers its budget and administers the judicial, prosecutorial, administrative and records/archive management.