A personal quest to document IS massacre of Iraqi Yazidis

Published 10:17 am Monday, June 13, 2016

DOHUK, Iraq — The walls and even the windows of Bahzad Farhan Murad’s office are covered with lists. They name the thousands of people who were killed or are still missing after the Islamic State group launched an attack on unarmed Yazidi communities in northwestern Iraq nearly two years ago.

The 28-year-old Yazidi has been documenting crimes against his community ever since the August 2014 attack. He is collecting data on as many victims as he can, gathering information on the men who were executed in groups, the women who were captured and forced into sexual slavery, the children who were indoctrinated in extremist training camps. To date, he has conducted hundreds of interviews and produced detailed files on over 2,400 victims.

Murad says his aim is to help the victims by gathering as much evidence as possible to assist a future criminal prosecution and by preserving the historical record.

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“I’m pretty sure that if we don’t do it now, after 20 years no-one will remember. And they will say, ‘nothing happened to the Yazidis,” he said.