Germany jails Islamic State member for life over role in Yazidi genocide

This, the court ruled, included the murder of a five-year-old girl the defendant had enslaved and chained to a window, leaving her to die in scorching heat.

 Coffins with remains of people from the Yazidi minoirty, who were killed by Islamic State militants, and they were exhumed from a mass grave, are seen during the funeral in Kojo, Iraq February 6, 2021.Picture taken February 6, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/CHARLOTTE BRUNEAU)
Coffins with remains of people from the Yazidi minoirty, who were killed by Islamic State militants, and they were exhumed from a mass grave, are seen during the funeral in Kojo, Iraq February 6, 2021.Picture taken February 6, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/CHARLOTTE BRUNEAU)

A German court on Tuesday jailed a former Islamic State militant for life after convicting him of involvement in genocide and crimes against humanity over mass killings of minority Yazidis by IS in Syria and Iraq.

It was the first genocide verdict against a member of the Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda that seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014 before being ousted by US-backed counter-offensives, losing its last territorial redoubt in 2019.

The court in Frankfurt found Taha al-Jumailly, 29, an Iraqi national, guilty of involvement in the slaughter of more than 3,000 Yazidis and enslavement of 7,000 women and girls by IS jihadists in 2014-15.

This, the court ruled, included the murder of a five-year-old girl the defendant had enslaved and chained to a window, leaving her to die in scorching heat.

Al-Jumailly, who entered the court covering his face with a file folder, was arrested in Greece in 2019 and extradited to Germany where relatives of slain Yazidis acted as plaintiffs supporting the prosecution.

Yazidi's women attend a ceremony at Lilash Temple to commemorate the death of women who were killed by Islamic State militants, during the International Women Day, in Shikhan north of Iraq March 8, 2019 (credit: ARI JALAL / REUTERS)Yazidi's women attend a ceremony at Lilash Temple to commemorate the death of women who were killed by Islamic State militants, during the International Women Day, in Shikhan north of Iraq March 8, 2019 (credit: ARI JALAL / REUTERS)

The defendant's German wife, identified only as Jennifer W., was used as a prosecution witness at the trial. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison last month for involvement in the enslavement of the Yazidi girl and her mother.

The Yazidis are an ancient religious minority in eastern Syria and northwest Iraq that Islamic State viewed as supposed devil worshippers for their faith that combines Zoroastrian, Christian, Manichean, Jewish and Muslim beliefs.

Islamic State's depredations also displaced most of the 550,000-strong Yazidi community.