Dutch plan to prosecute repatriated ISIS woman for crimes against humanity

She is accused of enslaving a Yazidi woman in Syria and also faces charges of belonging to terrorist group

ISIS fighters pictured in 2014. The accused is alleged to have joined the extremists in Syria. AP
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Prosecutors in the Netherlands announced plans to try a Dutch woman who joined ISIS with crimes against humanity for allegedly enslaving a Yazidi woman in Syria in 2015.

It is the first time Dutch prosecutors have brought a case of crimes against humanity committed against Yazidis, a religious minority in Iraq who were massacred by ISIS, the prosecution service said.

The woman, identified by Dutch media as Hasna Aarab, will also be tried over alleged membership of a terrorist organisation, as will 11 other women who were repatriated to the Netherlands in November last year from camps for ISIS members in Syria.

Similar trials have been held in Germany where the parliament in January recognised ISIS massacres of the Yazidi population as genocide.

Under Dutch law, national courts can try suspects for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed on foreign soil, as long as the accused reside in the Netherlands.

A trial date has not yet been set.

ISIS killed more than 3,000 Yazidi, enslaved 7,000 Yazidi women and girls and displaced most of the 550,000-strong community from its ancestral home in northern Iraq.

Yazidis' traditional home is remote corners of northern Iraq where they follow a religion that emerged in Iran more than 4,000 years ago and is rooted in Zoroastrianism. Over time it has also absorbed elements of Islam and Christianity.

Their holiest site is Lalish, a stone complex of shrines and natural springs in Iraq's mountainous north-west.

After the massacres, about 100,000 Yazidis fled to Europe, the US, Australia and Canada, according to UN figures.

Among those who found refuge in Germany was 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad who was captured, raped and forced to marry an extremist before she was able to escape.

There are about 1.5 million Yazidis worldwide.

Updated: February 10, 2023, 6:17 PM