This talk was given as part of the Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) Seminar Series.
Over the last five years, a variety of entities - governmental, non-governmental and those created by bodies within the United Nations - have determined that ISIS has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in areas it controlled in Iraq and Syria. The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria and the US Holocaust Memorial Museum have independently determined that ISIS has committed genocide against the Yazidi religious community of northern Iraq, and underscored that the logic, nature, and commission of genocide has been highly gendered. Since the collapse of ISIS's "caliphate", the pursuit of criminal accountability has accelerated, though it remains hindered by a range of factors, including a struggling Iraqi justice system, and an unwillingness of many states to take back their nationals, many held in SDF detention centres and camps in northern Syria, for trial. Alongside this, there is also increased discussion of the desirability of a broader range of transitional justice measures. Sareta Ashraph hopes to address these issues. She has been working on documenting and analysing ISIS crimes in Syria and Iraq with the UN Commission of Inquiry, the Syria IIIM, and most recently UNITAD.
Sareta Ashraph is a barrister specialized in international criminal and humanitarian law. Until August 2019, she was based in Iraq as the Senior Analyst on the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh. In 2017, Sareta was part of the start-up team of the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (Syria IIIM). From May 2012 to November 2016, she served as the Chief Legal Analyst on the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria where she was the primary drafter of the June 2016 report "They Came to Destroy", which determined that ISIS was committing genocide, as well as crimes against humanity and war crimes, against the Yazidis. In 2011 to 2012, she was the Analyst on the Commission of Inquiry on Libya. In 2010 and 2011, Sareta was the Legal Adviser to the ICC’s Defence Office. From 2004 to 2009, Sareta was Defence Co-Counsel before the SCSL. Sareta is an associate member of Garden Court Chambers (London), and is called to the Bar of England and Wales, as well as the Bar of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.