Washington D.C., Mar 17, 2016 / 07:58 am
Secretary of State John Kerry declared Thursday that Christians, Yezidis, Shi'a Muslims, and other religious and ethnic minorities are victims of ISIS genocide.
Secretary Kerry announced at a news conference that "in my judgment, Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims." Daesh is another name for the Islamic State, or ISIS.
The announcement is groundbreaking because the term is rarely used to describe ongoing atrocities committed by a state or non-state actor. It is the "crime of crimes," according to the United Nations, because it involves the intentional destruction, "in whole or in part," of an entire people.
Thursday's announcement came after reports from earlier in the week surfaced that the State Department was expected to miss the March 17 deadline for announcing whether or not it would declare genocide. Congress mandated the deadline in the Omnibus spending bill passed in December.