How One Yazidi Woman Helped To Secure The Second Genocide Conviction Of A Daesh Member

On July 27, 2022, a court in Germany convicted a German Daesh member, Jalda A., of aiding and abetting genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the enslavement and abuse of a young Yazidi woman, known as “M”. The defendant was sentenced to five years and six months in prison. This is a second conviction of a Daesh fighter for genocide against the Yazidis, both in Germany and in the world.

According to the judgment, as summarized and translated by Doughty Street Chambers, in April 2014, Jalda A. traveled from Germany to Syria where she married several high-ranking Daesh fighters. One of these Daesh fighters held a Yazidi woman captive as a sex and household slave for several weeks in 2017. The court found that Jalda A. aided and abetted the Daesh’s atrocities, and atrocities that amounted to genocide. It further concluded that it was “unthinkable” that Jalda A. was not aware of the Daesh atrocities against the Yazidis as she has been married to high-ranking Daesh fighters and lived them for over three years. She also supported the Daesh ideology and referred to the Yazidis as “dirty infidels.” The court found that Jalda A. facilitated her husband’s physical and sexual abuse of the Yazidi woman by preventing her from escaping. The Yazidi woman was raped in the presence of Jalda A. Furthermore, Jalda A. also abused the Yazidi woman when she “dragged M across the floor by her hair, hit her head against the bathroom wall and hit her in the face with a torch.”

The court further Jalda A. guilty of crimes against humanity through persecution, enslavement and severe deprivation of liberty and of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The Yazidi woman abused by Jalda A. and her husband testified in the proceedings and played a key role in securing the conviction. Apart from giving evidence on the atrocities suffered, she also described the atrocities perpetrated by Daesh against other Yazidis, including children. The Yazidi woman was sold 15 times and raped by 14 “owners.”

While an important step forward, the conviction is only second conviction of a Daesh member for the genocide against the Yazidis in the world (after Taha A.-J. was convicted in November 2021). German courts have been leading on the issue. German courts have convicted five other Daesh members for crimes against humanity and war crimes (Jennifer W., Sarah O., Nurten J., Omaima A., Romiena S.). Another woman, Leonora M., was convicted of membership in a terrorist organization.

The brave Yazidi woman who testified in the case of Jalda A., also participated and testified in the proceedings against other Daesh members, including Sarah O., Nurten J., Omaima A. Before being held captive by Jalda A. and her husband, the Yazidi woman was subjected to similar atrocities from the hands of Sarah O. and her friends, Nurten J. and Omaima A.

We must recognize the bravery of survivors of the Daesh atrocities and their important contribution to justice and accountability for some of the worst atrocities seen in the last decade. As they testify they relieve the barbaric atrocities to ensure that the perpetrators do not walk free. While we are still far from where we should have been in terms of justice and accountability for the Daesh atrocities, the survivors have been driving these efforts. They face a glaring lack of political will to address the atrocities by Daesh and deliver on the promises to secure justice. We need joint and renewed efforts that will see Daesh fighters, members and other collaborators being brought before courts, including an international tribunal, for their involvement in the genocide against the Yazidis.