Prosecuting Islamic extremism

Counteracting impunity for the armed jihad of the Islamic State group through international criminal justice


  • Werner Nel


Genocide, crimes against humanity, international criminal prosecution, counteracting impunity, international human rights, persecution, religious freedom, military jihad, Islamic extremism


The systematic targeting of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security. The legal accountability of the Islamic jihadist militia responsible for such atrocities is an important means to protect international religious freedom, prevent future religious oppression and counteract impunity. The human rights violations and atrocities committed by the Islamic State have been classified as war crimes, terrorism, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity by the international community. However, the religious persecutory intent underlining the Islamic State’s violent enforcement of extremist Islamic ideology merit the classification of such crimes as ‘genocide by religious persecution’ and ‘crimes against humanity of religious persecution’.