The Reader in International Law at The City Law School speaks as an invited expert at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the minority Yazidi community.

By City Press Office (City Press Office), Published

Dr Aldo Zammit Borda, Reader in International Law at The City Law School was an invited expert at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on the Yazidis, held at the House of Lords on 20th June 2023.

The meeting was opened by the chair of the APPG on the Yazidis, Brendan O’Hara MP, who spoke of the importance of continuing to raise awareness of the genocide suffered by the Yazidis, highlighting the need to shine a light on the challenges that this religious minority continues to face.

Dr Ewelina Ochab made reference to a report authored by experts from the International Bar Association Human Rights Initiative and The City Law School, entitled: Justice and accountability for the atrocities of Daesh - Progress made and the way forward. She highlighted the need to prosecute returning Daesh fighters in the UK. She also noted the need to address the barriers that Yazidi survivors faced when applying for asylum in the UK.

734326(L to R) Dr Aldo Zammit Borda, Brendan O’Hara MP, and Dr Ewelina Ochab

Dr Zammit Borda spoke about the importance of the international community, including the UK, mobilising to promote accountability for the clear-cut case of the Yazidis. The question was not whether the Yazidis had suffered genocide – this had been confirmed by the German Federal Court of Justice and UNITAD – the question was whether there is sufficient political will to confront this genocide. Dr Zammit Borda also referred to the lack of an appropriate legal framework and mechanism to prosecute genocide in the jurisdiction of Iraq.

Universal jurisdiction

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws closed the meeting by highlighting the plight of Yazidi women and girls, and the atrocities that they have faced, making it very difficult for them to get justice in Iraqi courts.

She highlighted the need for states to take action, on the basis of universal jurisdiction, where there is evidence against returning Daesh fighters on their territories. She also mentioned the importance of holding to account states that had failed in their obligations under the Genocide Convention, on the basis of state responsibility.

The delegates also discussed some specific and important policy outcomes, including potentially raising the issues discussed at the meeting with government officials and potentially formulating parliamentary questions.

(This report was prepared with the assistance of Muhammad Tanvir Hashem Munim, a PhD student at The City Law School)