One of the world’s most influential Muslim clerics has told a UN team that an investigation into “heinous crimes” committed against Christian and other Iraqi minorities was welcome and urgent, reports Agenzia Fides

The team, known as UNITAD, started its work formally this month following a UN resolution in September 2017. Its mandate is to collect evidence of genocide and war crimes committed by IS members to bring perpetrators to justice in Iraqi courts.

Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a senior Shia Muslim, said the team should in their research also focus on “abductions, slavery and sexual violence” suffered by women. IS fighters would round up Yazidi and Christian women and use and sell them as sex slaves.