U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday declared the Islamic State group guilty of committing crimes against humanity.
In a statement, Secretary Kerry said: ‘In my judgment, Daesh [ISIS] is responsible for genocide against groups in areas under its control, including Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims.
“Daesh is genocidal by self-declaration, by ideology, and by actions – in what it says, what it believes, and what it does,” he said.
Kerry said that it was difficult to build “a complete record” of ISIS’s crimes. But “over the past months, we have conducted a review of the vast amount of intelligence gathered.”
His declaration comes after the Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted unanimously in a 393-0 vote on Monday night in favor of a resolution to declare those who commit or support atrocities against Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic and religious minorities, are guilty of genocide.
His declaration opens the way for the Obama Administration to put in more effort and commit more resources to fighting the terrorist organization and bring the perpetrators to justice.
This is the first time that the United States has declared a genocide since Darfur in 2004.
Governments and groups from around the world have declared IS behavior as genocide, including Pope Francis, the European Parliament, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, the Iraqi government, and US presidential candidates.
Although the new designation does not trigger any automatic response, Kerry said that the US would continue its “comprehensive approach” to defeating the terrorist group.
He concluded: “Naming these crimes is important but what is essential is to stop them.”
Under a stipulated time-limit set by Congress, the State Department had until 17th of March to formally to decide whether it would issue a comprehensive genocide designation.
Lord Alton, Vice Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group who wrote a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron to urging him to recognize ISIS atrocities as genocide, said: “At last the US Administration has woken up to the targeted mass murder of these defenseless people. What has to happen for the UK Government do the same? They’ve been in a state of complete denial. They should take a lead and table a Resolution at the Security Council demanding that signatories to the Genocide Convention accept their double duty to protect and to punish.”