Iraqi authorities have ran into the first mass grave containing victims killed by ISIS group, which brutally targeted the minority in the Yazidi stronghold of Sinjar.
During the ceremony on Friday in her home village of Kojo, Nobel Laureate Nadia Murad, a Yazidi who escaped ISIS and became an outspoken advocate for her community called on Iraq's central authorities and those in the Kurdistan region to "protect the mass graves" so that proof could be found of the genocide of the Yazidis.
"There will not be reconciliation with the Arab tribes of our region if their dignitaries don't give the names of those who carried out the crimes so they can be judged," she said.
The United Nations, which is assisting with the forensic work, says the first opening of a mass grave in the region will help to focus on the fate of the Yazidi victims killed by ISIS.
Karim Khan, head of the UN investigative team, described the exhumation as an "important moment" for the probe, with 73 mass graves discovered so far in Sinjar alone.
"The road towards accountability is a long one, and many challenges lay ahead," he said in a statement. "Notwithstanding this, the spirit of cooperation between the survivor community and the government of Iraq is to be applauded."
Hundreds of men and women from the village are believed to have been executed by the militants when they took over the area in 2014.