U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says, ''Daesh is responsible for genocide.'' In a statement to reporters on Thursday morning, Kerry said it is essential to stop the militant group, better known in the U.S. as Islamic State, from carrying out atrocities. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday (March 17) declared that violence by Islamic State against religious minorities was genocide, saying the United States would do everything it could to hold the militant group accountable. "In my judgment Daesh is responsible for genocide against groups ... under its control, including Yazidis, Christians and Shia (Shi'ite) Muslims," Kerry said in a statement to reporters, using another term for Islamic State. Republicans, who control the U.S. Congress, have been pressuring the Democratic Obama administration to call the militants' atrocities in Iraq and Syria acts of genocide. This week, one chamber, the U.S. House of Representatives, passed a resolution labelling the group's violence against religious and ethnic minorities as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. A U.S. administration has not made a genocide finding since 2004, it determined genocide had occurred in Darfur and that the government of Sudan was responsible. "Naming these crimes is important, but what is essential is to stop them," Kerry said. Islamic State militants have swept through Iraq and Syria in recent years, seizing control of large swathes of territory with an eye towards establishing jihadism in the heart of the Arab world. Its videos depict violent deaths of people who stand in its way. Opponents have been beheaded, shot dead, blown up with fuses attached to their necks and drowned in cages lowered into swimming pools, with underwater cameras capturing their agony.