On March 1 2021, the Iraqi Parliament approved the Yazidi Female Survivors Law. This is the first instrument that is addressed to survivors of conflict-related sexual violence and is specific to the conflict with ISIS. The aim of the law is to provide compensation, rehabilitation and care to women and girls that have survived sexual abuse, including sex enslavement, forced marriage, forced pregnancy or abortion, by members of ISIS since August 3, 2014. Specifically, the law applies to girls and women from Yazidi, Turkmen, Christian and Shabak communities.
Article 3 entrusts the administration of the reparation program to a newly established Directorate-General under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs based in Nineveh Governorate. The law also specifies that the responsibility to assess the applications of female survivors will lie with a semi-judicial committee, who will need to decide on the validity of the requests within 90 days from their submission. Although the law is not clear on the process for the submission and the review of the applications, Article 10 provides for the establishment of an open web application to receive the requests from survivors inside and outside of Iraq.
The instrument also has the merit of formally recognizing the crimes committed by ISIS against Iraqi minorities as acts of genocide and crimes against humanity under international law. In this respect, it calls on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to cooperate with “official agencies” to define the forums where the crime should be prosecuted and to deliver the criminals to specialized courts. Furthermore, with regards to crimes committed against the Yazidi, Article 11 stipulates that pardons or amnesties should not apply.