One of the top human-rights advocates in Congress is applauding Secretary of State John Kerry for labeling ISIS atrocities as genocide, but he says the designation should have come much sooner, and there is evidence the Obama administration is deliberately concealing the horrific human-rights records of other nations in order to advance other priorities.
This week, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution declaring ISIS guilty of genocide. Kerry followed on Thursday by delivering the genocide verdict that some have been begging for for years.
“I and others have been asking for almost three years that such a designation be made. It was very clear right from the start. I had a hearing back in 2013 and made it clear that Christians especially are being targeted for forced conversion. If they don’t convert to Islam they are killed, raped, beheaded and have other atrocities committed upon them,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., a top member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of its human-rights subcommittee.
He says the genocide has been obvious a long time.
“It absolutely fits the genocide convention definition. What was the delay?” asked Smith.
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Smith:
Smith is now demanding to know what the administration plans to do about the genocide. But he worries the existing Obama track record on human-rights abuses elsewhere around the world is proof that it’s just not a high priority.
Next week, Smith will hold hearings into allegations the U.S. is not only failing to act against human-rights violators but is actually helping them cover up their deeds.
“I have a big hearing next Tuesday on how Obama has falsified the analysis of fourteen countries when it comes to human rights and this terrible modern-day slavery of sex and labor trafficking in order to curry favor with those countries,” said Smith, listing China, India, Oman, Cuba and Malaysia as examples.
He says it may well get even more disturbing.
“The Reuters wire service Friday, in an incisive investigative report, showed that they did it deliberately in order to achieve some other goal totally unconnected to just speaking truth to power about their despicable human-rights records,” said Smith.
It’s that track record that has Smith doubtful that Obama will do much of anything to follow up on the ISIS genocide declaration.
“Fast forward to what’s happening right now, delay is denial again and I’m very, very concerned they’re likely to dither and not do something that would have a meaningful impact,” said Smith.
Specifically, Smith is asking the U.S. to lead an effort to create a special war-crimes tribunal through the United Nations Security Council. He says such tribunals have proven most effective in war-torn places like Rwanda, Sierra Leone and the former Yugoslavia.
“We need to build a pressure to say no more impunity (for ISIS perpetrators) and we need to hold these people to account,” said Smith. “This doesn’t guarantee an end to the war or anything like that, but it brings accountability to the process. It starts putting people behind bars, hopefully for the rest of their lives,” said Smith.
Smith firmly believes that establishing tribunals would not only bring punishments to those apprehended but also act as a deterrent for other ISIS terrorists.
“What has happened with those tribunals especially is that individuals never thought they would be caught. They thought they could act with impunity. This gives us the opportunity to be turning lower level people on bigger fish who are committing these horrific crimes,” said Smith.
He says David Crane, the lead prosecutor at the Sierra Leone tribunals, is already collecting evidence of which ISIS members are responsible for specific acts.
Smith says the U.S. should steer far and wide of leaving this matter in the hands of the International Criminal Court.
“Crane gave expert insights and testimony about how flexible, aggressive and how capable these ad hoc regional tribunals are. The International Criminal Court, which has been up and running for 14 years, has two convictions. The three regional courts have had well over a hundred convictions,” said Smith.