Hu­man Rights Watch says crimes against hu­man­ity on the in­crease in Iraq

Is­lamic State of Iraq, linked to Al-Qaeda, claims re­spon­si­bil­ity for crimes rec­og­nized as “crimes against hu­man­ity” in Iraq

The Kurdish Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Salih Wal­ad­bagi

Hu­man Rights Watch has an­nounced that the ex­trem­ists who de­lib­er­ately car­ried out a wave of blasts in Iraq killed 60 peo­ple on July 29, 2013. It de­scribed the act crime against hu­man­ity, the most se­vere crimes un­der in­ter­na­tional law.

The Al-Qaeda or­ga­ni­za­tion in Iraq, the Is­lamic State of Iraq, claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity and pub­li­cally an­nounced that it or­ga­nized the 29th July at­tacks and bomb­ings as well as sev­eral oth­ers in re­cent months.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion has is­sued an an­nounce­ment con­firm­ing that it car­ried out the car bombs and deadly sui­cide at­tacks in the coun­try which tar­geted civil­ians in the main and left hun­dreds dead and in­jured.

A string of ex­plo­sions in Bagh­dad on Au­gust 6 through Au­gust 10 tar­geted busy places, cafes and shop­ping streets where many fam­i­lies were celebrating the end of Ra­madan. At least 130 peo­ple were killed in those blasts, and no party had claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity un­til now.

“The July 29 at­tacks, com­ing on top of other hor­rific at­tacks in re­cent months, pro­vide clear ev­i­dence that Al-Qaeda in Iraq is guilty of crimes against hu­man­ity,” said Joe Stork, deputy Mid­dle East di­rec­tor at Hu­man Rights Watch. “No po­lit­i­cal goal or griev­ance can pos­si­bly jus­tify this wide­spread and or­ga­nized mur­der cam­paign, which is wreak­ing ter­ri­ble suf­fer­ing on Iraqis.”

The 29th July at­tacks were very deadly and tar­geted both Sunni and Shia neigh­bor­hoods. The harsh at­tacks also tar­geted gov­ern­men­tal ap­pa­ra­tus and mil­i­tary in­sti­tu­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial United Na­tions sta­tis­tics, the hor­rific at­tacks made July the blood­i­est month in the past five years. The acts of ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lence in July claimed the lives of 1 057 Iraqi peo­ple and wounded 2 326 oth­ers, in­clud­ing 204 po­lice­men and 129 mem­bers of the Iraqi se­cu­rity forces (UNAMI).

Gy­orgy Busztin, the act­ing spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Iraq of the United Na­tions Sec­re­tary-Gen­eral, warned of the past month’s vi­o­lence in Iraq and said that the vi­o­lence might bear the sign of a re­turn to an era “when the blind rage of sec­tar­ian strife… in­flicted… deep wounds upon this coun­try.”

Con­sis­tent with a re­port from the In­sti­tute for the Study of War, Al-Qaeda has re­peat­edly car­ried out at­tacks with hand­made-bombs over the last 12month pe­riod.

One day later, on July 30, the Is­lamic State of Iraq claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the 29th July at­tacks. On July 21, the group car­ried out two deadly and hor­rific at­tacks on two Bagh­dad-area pris­ons: Abu Ghraib and al-Ta­jji, which led to in­mates es­caped en masse. Two days later, the Is­lamic State of Iraq claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the two at­tacks. Iraq’s Min­istry of Jus­tice is­sued a state­ment claim­ing at least 68 mem­bers of the se­cu­rity forces were killed in the at­tack on Abu Ghraib, and be­tween 500 and 1, 000 de­tainees es­caped from the two pris­ons.

The Is­lamic State of Iraq later said that the at­tacks were re­venge for the at­tack car­ried out by the Iraqi se­cu­rity forces on a Sunni protest camp in the city of Haw­ija on April 23, killing 51 peo­ple.

Those re­spon­si­ble for and though com­plicit in crimes against hu­man­ity can be pros­e­cuted any­where in the world, since they are con­sid­ered to be un­der uni­ver­sal ju­ris­dic­tion. As a mat­ter of cus­tom­ary in­ter­na­tional law, the term “crimes against hu­man­ity” in­cludes a range of se­ri­ous hu­man rights abuses in­clud­ing mur­der com­mit­ted as part of a wide­spread or sys­tem­atic at­tack by a govern­ment or or­ga­nized non-state group against a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion.

“In the cur­rent cli­mate, at­tacks are com­mit­ted by all sides – Sunni in­sur­gent groups, Shia mili­tias, and govern­ment se­cu­rity forces – and each in­vokes the oth­ers’ vi­o­lence as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for their own,” Stork said. “Rather than re­spond­ing with in­creased bru­tal­ity and re­sort­ing to tor­ture, forced con­fes­sions, mass ar­rests, and un­fair tri­als, the govern­ment needs to take the lead to end this bru­tal cy­cle.”

Iraqis in­spect the af­ter­math of a car bomb at­tack at Bagh­dad’s mostly Shi­ite neigh­bor­hood of Hus­seiniyah, Iraq, on June 25, 2013.

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