Nov 18, 2014 8:31 AM
Kevin Landrigan: Sens. Ayotte, Klobuchar urge US State Dept. to pursue war crimes vs. ISIS
U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, joined with a Democratic senator to call upon Secretary of State John Kerry to explore bringing war crime charges against ISIS for the systematic sexual abuse and enslavement of women.
In a letter to Kerry, Ayotte and Sen. Amy Kobuchar highlighted the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that women and girls were being sold like property and subject to brutal rapes and sexual assaults at the hands of ISIS fighters.
"While drawing greater attention to these incidents, the State Department should also work wherever possible with human rights organizations to identify specific perpetrators in order to facilitate war crimes charges against them in the future,'' the senators wrote.
The UN report said the incidents of rape are not ``isolated events'' but part of a campaign to victimize women and girls.
"There are distressing accounts of fighters taking girls as young as 13 years old away from their families, resulting in violations of international humanitarian law and acts that amount to war crimes of cruel treatment, sexual violence and rape,'' says the UN report.
The senators credited Kerry's office to try and block recruitment of more ISIS fighters from the west.
"We recognize that the department has taken steps to publicize ISIS's atrocities through social media to deter recruitment by the organization in Europe and the United States. These efforts could be bolstered by including a greater emphasis on ISIS's mass crimes against women and girls, including rape and trafficking for forced marriages,'' the senators added.