Secretary Kerry: Daesh is 'Responsible for Crimes Against Humanity'

Today, Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a statement asserting that Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control.  Secretary Kerry said, “ my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. Daesh is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology, and by actions -- in what it says, what it believes, and what it does. Daesh is also responsible for crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing directed at these same groups and in some cases also against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities.”

While noting that the ongoing conflict and lack of access to key areas has made it impossible to develop a fully detailed and comprehensive picture of Daesh’s actions, Secretary Kerry stated his conclusion is based on a recent review conducted by the State Department, the U.S. intelligence community, as well as by outside groups.

Despite the inability to compile a complete record, Secretary Kerry pointed to several examples -- from Mount Sinjar to Mosul, Qaraqosh, and elsewhere -- of Daesh’s systematic effort to kill religious minorities and destroy the cultural heritage of ancient communities. These examples of Daesh’s extreme and intolerant actions, Secretary Kerry emphasized, represent a clear indication of Daesh’s intent to destroy an ethnic or religious group, in whole or in part -- one clear element of genocide.  

Secretary Kerry shared his hope that shedding a light on the despicable nature of these crimes would underscore -- even more starkly -- the need for a comprehensive and unified approach to defeating Daesh both in its core in Syria and Iraq and more broadly in its attempt to establish external networks.

Secretary Kerry made clear that the best response to genocide is “a reaffirmation of the fundamental right to survive of every group targeted for destruction.” He urged that the international community must aim to preserve what Daesh wants to erase -- an effort that will ultimately require defeating Daesh. “But it also demands the rejection of bigotry and discrimination – those things that facilitated its rise in the first place,” he said.

Speaking directly to the international community and to all citizens, Secretary Kerry noted, that while accomplishing our goal of marginalizing and defeating violent extremists once and for all will not be easy or happen overnight, it is critical that we recognize what Daesh is doing to its victims. He stated, “We must hold the perpetrators accountable. And we must find the resources to help those harmed by these atrocities be able to survive on their ancestral land.”  

As he concluded his statement, Secretary Kerry underscored the importance of not only naming these genocidal crimes, but stopping them. He noted, stopping these crimes will require unity among the countries directly involved, as well as the pronounced determination of all decent people across the globe to act against genocide, ethnic cleansing, and other crimes against humanity.

Check out our latest podcast on countering violent extremism, including highlights from Secretary Kerry's remarks on Daesh and genocide.

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Eric J.
New Mexico, USA
March 25, 2016

That Daesh "is responsible for genocide" was pretty much a no-brainer from the get go and I can't imagine why it took so long for legal minds to come to this conclusion, other than the fact that the process of determination takes too long to prevent genocide.

Take Assad for example...the State dept is still unwilling to say he and his regime are responsible for genocide after 5 years and some 470,000 dead people in Syria, millions more displaced and starved by policy of the State, A Government that makes war upon its own people should be considered to be of a genocidal nature long before you have to count the number and variety of atrocities committed, by the very nature of the mindset involved, and an automatic legal determination made when when that government uses weapons of mass destruction on its own people.

See, I would challenge the legal experts who would say, "Well we can't determine that Assad is deliberately targeting an ethnic minority for extermination." ...or some such excuse.

With this:

"The deliberate targeting of civilians w weapons of war designed to induce mass casualties among a population is a crime against humanity in each single event. When they happen on a continuous basis as a strategy of war, this represents genocide."

I would appreciate it if any legal mind at State who thinks this is not the case, to tell me why there isn't a gaping loop hole in the legal definition of genocide that Assad and his regime have exploited for the last 5 years?

I really can't believe I heard Mark Toner call Assad's government, "the lesser of two evils" in regards to some off-hand analysis of which was worse, Daesh occupying Palmira, or Assad's forces taking it back.

Some at State once gave me credit for coming up with a new term you'all seemed to take a liking to....but this isn't what I had in mind when I talked about "diplo-speak"...Mark's just flat wrong....I'm pretty sure there's 470,000 souls who would agree with me that Assad's government is at the very least, "on par" in the balance of all things evil.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a statement on Daesh and Genocide in the Press Briefing Room at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C., on March 17, 2016.
Posted by DipNote Bloggers
March 17, 2016


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