Australian parliament condemns sexual violence by Da’esh as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide

Both houses of Australia’s federal parliament have now recognised Da’esh’s use of sexual violence as a war crime, crime against humanity and genocide. They have condemned the use of sexual violence by Da’esh and called for the investigation and prosecution of the individuals responsible.

Last year, Federal Member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann put a motion to the House of Representatives calling for the investigation and prosecution of individuals who used sexual violence as war crimes and crimes against humanity while fighting with Da’esh in Syria and Iraq. Six members of parliament spoke to support the resolution, three from the government and three from the opposition. Julian Leeser, Member for Berowra; Jason Falinksi, Member for Mackellar; and Andrew Wallace, Member for Fisher from the government all spoke in support of the motion. In addition to Gai Brodtmann; Mike Kelly, Member for Eden-Monaro; and Sharon Claydon, Member for Newcastle spoke to the motion from the opposition.

The Senate passed a motion acknowledging Da’esh’s use sexual violence amounting to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and the dedicated infrastructure for trafficking and slavery of women and girls. It called on the government to investigate Australians who have allegedly perpetrated war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, including through the use of sexual violence, and prosecute them as appropriate and to support international efforts to gather evidence, investigate and prosecute those responsible for international crimes perpetrated by Da’esh in Iraq and Syria. The motion was co-sponsored by members of each political party as well as notable independents. Labor Senator for Queensland, Claire Moore put the motion to the Senate on behalf of Liberal Senator for Western Australia, Linda Reynolds; Greens Senator for Tasmania, Nick McKim; South Australian Senator from the Nick Xenaphon Team, Skye Kakoschke-Moore; and Independent Senator for Tasmania, Jacqui Lambie.

In February this year, Liberal Member for Dunkley, Chris Crewther put a motion to the House of Representatives recognising Da’esh’s geocide of the Yazidis, including through the use of sexual violence, and calling for the investigation and prosecution of those responsible. Five members spoke in support of the motion, two from the government and three from the opposition. Speakers relayed stories of survivors of the genocide and tales of the sexual violence experienced by women and girls, as well as relating the issue of genocide to xenophobia at home. Each of the members poke out in support of the need for justice for the survivors as well as for the global good.

Now that parliament has condemned these crimes and called for the investigation and prosecution of those responsible, prosecute; don’t perpetrate will begin advocating with the Australian Federal Police to ensure individual investigations and the Commonwealth Directorate of Public Prosecutions to ensure investigations lead to prosecutions in Australian courts.

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