Amal Clooney Is Aware Of The Risks Of Taking ISIS To Trial, But Says She Can't Walk Away

The accomplished human rights lawyer's latest client is Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who fled sexual slavery by ISIS.

Nadia Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi woman who in 2014 was captured by ISIS and forced to become a sex slave. Her escape from the terrorist organization and her subsequent efforts to shed light on ISIS' violence and brutality against the Yazidi community has propelled her to the international stage. Murad testified in front of the U.N. Security Council about the horrors she endured at the hands of ISIS, and has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and appointed U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. 

Since escaping ISIS, Murad, 23, has become the face of victims of the terrorist organization. Accordingly, she wants to seek justice for those victims. And human rights lawyer and activist Amal Clooney is taking on her case. 

The two are seeking for the International Criminal Court to prosecute ISIS for human trafficking and genocide against the Yazidi community.

In an interview on NBC's Today, Clooney, who has taken on some monumental cases throughout her career, spoke to Cynthia McFadden about her most significant and dangerous legal challenge yet. 

"It's not enough," Clooney said of those who argue that destroying ISIS is a better solution than bringing them to trial. "You can't kill an idea that way. I think one of the ways to take action against that is to expose their brutality and their corruption, and partly, you can do that through trials."


The Yazidi community has been one of ISIS' chief targets. According to a recent U.N. report, the group has killed more than 5,000 Yazidis, and at least 3,200 more are still in captivity. In June, ISIS reportedly burned more than a dozen Yazidi women to death in front of a large crowd for refusing to have sex with its fighters.

"It's been harrowing to hear the testimony of girls as young as 11 and 12 talk about what's happened to them," Clooney said. "Still, we haven't been able to do anything about it."

Murad's high profile has been followed by ISIS, too. McFadden noted in the interview that ISIS has sent her "new threats" even in the last few days, but Murad said that she wouldn't have a life if she didn't give hope to other victims. 

When McFadden pointed out that Clooney, too, was putting her life at risk, she responded:

I don't think anyone can feel that they're being courageous compared to what Nadia is doing. It's not a joke. This is ISIS. And they have sent her really specific threats saying "We will get you back...We will do everything to you."

Clooney said that once she met Murad, she thought, "I can't walk away from this." And she and her husband, actor George Clooney, understand the risks that come with it. "He met Nadia, too, and I think he was moved for the same reasons and he understood," she said. "I mean, this is my work."

Despite years of media coverage of ISIS' atrocities, the international community has been flummoxed by how best to defeat the violent group that has caused so much strife and suffering in Iraq and Syria. Many countries are struggling to identify and prevent ISIS-influenced terrorist attacks within their borders. But Murad's voice is gaining attention, and with Clooney's help, some form of justice may well be possible.


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