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Germany hands world's first genocide conviction against Islamic State member

Taha al-Jumailly, who joined the Islamic State group in 2013, was found guilty of genocide by a Frankfurt court on Tuesday
Taha al-Jumailly holds up a file to cover his face as he awaits the verdict at the start of his trial for charges of genocide and crimes against humanity at the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt (AFP)

Germany has become the first country in the world to hand an Islamic State member a genocide conviction for crimes perpetrated against the Yazidi minority. 

A court in Frankfurt on Tuesday found Taha al-Jumailly guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aiding and abetting war crimes and bodily harm resulting in death after joining IS in 2013. 

German prosecutors said Jumailly and his ex-wife, a German woman named Jeniffer Wenisch, "purchased" a Yazidi woman and child as household "slaves" while living in Mosul. 

'To finally hear a judge, after seven years, declare that what they suffered was genocide'

- Amal Clooney 

The Yazidi girl's mother accused Jumailly of buying her daughter as a slave in Mosul and chaining the five-year-old girl to a window outdoors as temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius as punishment for wetting the bed, leading her to die from thirst. 

Identified only by her first name, Nora, the child's mother testified about her daughter in Munich and Frankfurt.

She also described being raped multiple times by IS militants after they invaded her village in the Sinjar mountains in northwestern Iraq in August 2014.

In October, Wenisch, 30, was handed a ten-year prison sentence for "crimes against humanity in the form of enslavement" and aiding and abetting the girl's death by failing to help.  

Amal Clooney, who represented a Yazidi victim as a co-plaintiff, described the verdicts as "the moment Yazidis have been waiting for."

"To finally hear a judge, after seven years, declare that what they suffered was genocide. There is no more denying it - ISIS is guilty of genocide," said Clooney, using alternative initials for the group.

Germany has been at the forefront of legal action against individuals accused of committing crimes on behalf of the Islamic State group.

Using the principle of universal jurisdiction, Germany has already handed five convictions against women for crimes against humanity related to Syrians and Yazidis.

Earlier this week, prosecutors in Naumburg charged a German woman named as Leonora M with aiding and abetting crimes against humanity after she enslaved a Yazidi woman in Syria with her IS husband in 2015.