The defendant Taha A.-J. had joined the jihadist militia Islamic State, which cracked down on the Yazidi religious group in Iraq. In June 2015, he bought a Yazidi woman and her young daughter and kept them as slaves. In his household they were repeatedly humiliated and abused.

As punishment for urinating on a mattress, he tied the enslaved five-year-old girl to a window grille in the sun in high heat. She died of heat stroke.

The Higher Regional Court (OLG) Frankfurt am Main sentenced the 30-year-old to life imprisonment for genocide and crimes against humanity resulting in death. According to the Higher Regional Court, this was the first court ruling in the world that explicitly dealt with the allegation of genocide against the Yazidis.

The BGH has now largely confirmed the Frankfurt judgment. In particular, the guilty verdict for genocide and life imprisonment were upheld by the top criminal judges in Karlsruhe. Only the Frankfurt judges did not adequately justify the fact of aiding and abetting war crimes, which was also ruled by the Higher Regional Court. But that doesn’t change the sentence.

Taha A.-J. had largely acted together with his German-born former wife Jennifer W. She was sentenced to ten years in prison by the Munich Higher Regional Court for membership in a foreign terrorist organization and crimes against humanity. The Federal Court of Justice wants to negotiate on January 26 about the appeal of the accused.