German woman on trial for ISIS crimes is terror group's face in Europe

Case will likely enable Yazidi victim to testify, conjuring up memories of Holocaust survivors confronting Nazi war criminals at trial.

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April 10, 2019 17:46
2 minute read.
A general view of the Yazidi refugee camp in Mount Sinjar, Iraq February 4, 2019

A general view of the Yazidi refugee camp in Mount Sinjar, Iraq February 4, 2019. (photo credit: KHALID AL MOUSILY / REUTERS)

 
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Seven decades after Germany had to reckon with the crimes of the Nazi era, a new generation of war criminals are being put on trial for joining Islamic State. In Munich, a man and woman have been charged with chaining a five-year-old Yazidi girl outside in the heat and “leaving her in great agony to die of thirst.” More than a thousand Germans are thought to have joined ISIS.

The case is the first of its kind to address the war crimes perpetrated by German citizens who became ISIS members. The defendant in this case is a 27-year-old woman, who has been allowed to protect her identity by hiding her face in court and being known only as “Jennifer W.” She showed no emotion in Munich when charges were read, according to The New York Times. She is charged with murder, war crimes, membership in a foreign terrorist organization and other crimes.

The woman and her partner are accused of having gone to Iraq in August 2014 and joining ISIS. This was during the height of ISIS power, when it kidnapped thousands of Yazidi women and children and systematically murdered more than 5,000 Yazidi men in a genocidal attempt to ethnically-cleanse the minority group in Iraq. ISIS also murdered more than 1,500 Shi’ites in Camp Speicher in June 2014; massacred Bedouin tribes; cleansed Christians from areas of Iraq and Syria; and kidnapped Shi’ite children from Tal Afar. Yet 5,000 Europeans, including converts from Europe, joined ISIS in the summer and fall of 2014, hoping to take part in the genocide.

According to reports, the German woman was active in the ISIS “Hisbah” or morality police, and she helped the terrorist group colonize cities in Iraq. Much as SS members had once done in Ukraine, Poland and other countries, she helped ISIS enforce its laws in public areas. “Her job was to make sure that woman were upholding the terror organization’s dress and behavior codes,” the report notes. She was able to go back and forth to Turkey, where she oddly went to the German Embassy in Ankara in 2016. Turkey detained and deported her.


Her crimes were revealed because a driver, whom she used in an attempt to return and join ISIS, recorded conversations in which she revealed her abuses of locals in Iraq. One of the alleged crimes is that she and her male co-defendant took part in the kidnapping of a five-year-old girl “slave” and tied her up outside after the little girl wet her bed. “The defendant’s husband punished the girl by chaining her up outside in the searing heat and leaving her in great agony to die of thirst.” The woman “took no action to save the girl.”

The mother of the girl will likely be able to testify in this case and tell the story of the abuse. The case conjures up memories of the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, when victims of the Nazis were finally allowed to testify against the German war criminals who murdered Jews in the Holocaust. It is estimated that 1.5 million children, one million of them Jewish, were murdered by Nazi Germany, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Like ISIS crimes against Yazidis, Jews were also used for slave labor by Nazi Germany, and immense cruelty was shown to Jewish women and children.

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