Amal Clooney delivered a passionate speech this week urging the world not to allow the Islamic State group to “get away with genocide” in Iraq, and to “stand up for justice” and show “moral leadership”.

The human rights lawyer and wife of George Clooney, whose law practice has represented the victims of IS rapes, beatings and kidnappings, told a United Nations assembly that the crimes being committed by the terrorist group were not the only things that were “shocking”, but also that the watching world had thusfar acted in such a “passive” manner.

Amal Clooney George ClooneyAmal and George Clooney pictured in May 2016

Clooney urged Haider al-Abadi, the Iraqi Prime Minister, to inform the UN Security Council of what was happening so it could set up an investigation. Atrocities are reportedly being committed in areas that IS once controlled (at one point it occupied around 40% of Iraq) but is now being pushed out of by a concerted effort from Iraqi and coalition forces.

“Justice is what the victims want…” Clooney said in a speech on Thursday (March 9th), “but justice will be forever out of reach if we allow the evidence to disappear, if mass graves are not protected, if medical evidence is lost, if witnesses can no longer be traced.”

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The lawyer, who is expecting twins with her Hollywood actor husband later this year, expressed frustration that virtually nothing had happened since she raised this issue to the UN six months ago.

“Killing ISIS on the battlefield is not enough. We must kill the idea behind IS by exposing the brutality and bringing individual criminals to justice,” Clooney continued. She also addressed al-Abadi, saying that sending a letter to the UN “would silence those who doubt your commitment to bring Daesh [another acronym for IS] to justice.”

Even if such a letter didn’t come, the UN has options, she said. The Security Council could act without Iraq’s permission, the Secretary-General could launch an investigation, or the General Assembly could set up an “accountability mechanism” as it did in Syria last year.

“Instead, mass graves in Iraq lie unprotected and un-exhumed, witnesses are fleeing and not one ISIS militant has faced trial for international crimes anywhere in the world,” she said, illustrating that the world had so far done nothing.

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