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U.S. House Pressures Obama To Declare IS Atrocities 'Genocide'

The U.S. House overwhelmingly condemned as genocide the atrocities committed by the Islamic State extremist group (IS) against Christians, Yazidis, and other groups in Iraq and Syria.

The 393-0 vote on March 14 came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry considers making a legal determination that IS committed genocide -- a move that some believe would obligate the United States to take further action against the group beyond the current air-strike campaign.

House Speaker Paul Ryan chided the White House for delaying a decision.

"As the administration waffles on this issue and doubles-down on its failed strategy to defeat ISIS, the American people are speaking loudly and clearly," he said, using another acronym for the group.

The House resolution identifies IS's actions against Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, and other groups as "genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity."

While the House vote was nonbinding, an executive branch determination of genocide could set off far-reaching moral and legal consequences.

Only one such determination has been made previously, targeting the atrocities committed in Sudan's Darfur region in 2004.

At the least, a determination against IS would probably be referred to the United Nations Security Council for prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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