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    Yazidi Iraqi women queue in order to get food at the Bajid Kandala camp near the Tigris River, in Kurdistan's western Dohuk province, where they took refuge after fleeing advances by Islamic State jihadists in Iraq on August 13, 2014. (File)

    Yazidis Join Case Against French Cement Giant Lafarge Over Daesh Payment Scandal

    © AFP 2018 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE
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    The Iraqi and Syrian Yazidi minority were among the groups hardest hit by Daesh (ISIS)* terror as the militants expanded their presence throughout the region in 2014 and 2015.

    Lawyers led by Amal Clooney have filed a civil lawsuit against French cement company Lafarge over the company's secret payment of millions of euros to terrorist groups including Daesh in Syria between 2011 and 2015 to allow the company to continue running a local cement plant.

    Saying she was "honored" to represent the Yazidi women in the case, Amal, spouse of Hollywood actor George Clooney, characterised the lawsuit as "an opportunity to establish that ISIS, and all those who assisted them, will be held to account for their crimes, and that victims will be awarded just compensation."

    According to the lawyer, the case "sends an important message to corporations that are complicit in the commission of international crimes that they will face legal consequences for their actions."

    The case against Lafarge is the first time that a multinational corporation has been charged with complicity in Daesh's crimes. A panel of French judges handed down preliminary charges against the cement giant in late June following a two year investigation, ordering it to pay over 30 million euros as a security deposit ahead of the trial. Eight former executives including ex-CEO Bruno Lafont have been charged with terror financing and/or endangering innocent lives through their activities in Syria.

    Lafarge has maintained that the company as a whole is not guilty of any wrongdoing.

    Daesh considers the Yazidi minority 'devil worshipers', and staged massacres of Iraqi and Syrian Yazidis beginning in 2014 as part of its campaign of conquest in Iraq and Syria. The terror group killed thousands of men and kidnapped thousands of women and girls, subjecting them to sexual enslavement, torture and rape. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian Yazidis fled their homes in Iraq and Syria, and their plight was used as one of the justifications for the US coalition's intervention against Daesh in 2014. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights characterised Daesh's campaign against the Yazidis as genocide in a March 2015 report.

    The Yazidi minority was just one of multiple religious and ethnic minorities targeted by Daesh as it spread across western Iraq and eastern Syria between 2014 and 2015. Since then, the Iraqi and Syrian militaries, bolstered by support their respective allies, shattered the terror group's 'caliphate' and drove it into a few small pockets around the Euphrates River in Syrian territory presently controlled by the US-backed SDF Kurdish forces.

    *A terrorist group outlawed in Russia and many other countries.

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    Tags:
    massacre, genocide, Yazidis, lawsuit, Lafarge, Amal Clooney, Syria, Iraq
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