A U.N. team authorized over a year ago to investigate the massacre of the Yazidi minority and other atrocities by ISIS in Iraq will finally begin work early next year, the head of the investigation stated Tuesday.
The U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution in September 2017 to bring those responsible for ISIS war crimes to justice — a cause championed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, according to VOA.
The team, led by British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, was deployed in Baghdad in
"The investigative team now looks forward to continuing preparations in Iraq with a view to commencing investigative activities in early 2019," Ahmad Khan told the council during his first report.
The Iraqi government had resisted calls for the U.N. probe and the head of the investigative team stressed that much effort had been deployed to ensure cooperation from Baghdad.
Ahmad Khan told the council that "the realization of our investigative activities is dependent on securing the cooperation, support
The United Nations has described the massacre of the Yazidis by ISIS as possible genocide and U.N. rights investigators have documented horrific accounts of abuse suffered by women and girls.
Nadia Murad is among thousands of Yazidi women who were held hostage and as sex slaves when ISIS fighters swept into Iraq's Sinjar region in August 2014.
The investigators will gather evidence on war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide for use in Iraqi courts that will hold trials for ISIS militants, according to the U.N. resolution.
More than 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 bodies have been recently discovered in Iraq, providing evidence of war crimes by ISIS.
The United States announced it will provide $2 million to support the work of the investigative team, known as
After being awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize, Murad said she wanted ISIS to face trial in a courtroom.
"For me, justice doesn't mean killing all of the ISIS members who committed these crimes against us," she said in October.
"Justice for me is taking ISIS members to a court of law and seeing them in court admitting to the crimes they committed against Yazidis and being punished for those crimes specifically," she said in October.