UN re­port : ISIS may have com­mit­ted war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity and geno­cide

ISIS and Shi­ite mili­tia groups may have per­pe­trated se­ri­ous crimes in Iraq.

The Kurdish Globe - - NEWS BAR -

The so-called Is­lamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) may have com­mit­ted all three of the most se­ri­ous in­ter­na­tional crimes – namely war crimes, crimes against hu­man­ity and geno­cide – ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued by the UN Hu­man Rights Of­fice on Thurs­day.

The re­port, com­piled by an in­ves­ti­ga­tion team sent to the re­gion by the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Hu­man Rights late last year, draws on in-depth in­ter­views with more than 100 peo­ple who wit­nessed or sur­vived at­tacks in Iraq be­tween June 2014 and Fe­bru­ary 2015. It doc­u­ments a wide range of vi­o­la­tions by ISIS against nu­mer­ous eth­nic and re­li­gious groups in Iraq, some of which, it says, may amount to geno­cide.

It also high­lights vi­o­la­tions, in­clud­ing killings, tor­ture and ab­duc­tions, al­legedly car­ried out by the Iraqi Se­cu­rity Forces and as­so­ci­ated mili­tia groups.

The re­port finds that wide­spread abuses com­mit­ted by ISIS in­clude killings, tor­ture, rape and sex­ual slav­ery, forced re­li­gious con­ver­sions and the con­scrip­tion of chil­dren. All of th­ese, it says, amount to vi­o­la­tions of in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights and hu­man­i­tar­ian law. Some may con­sti­tute crimes against hu­man­ity and/ or may amount to war crimes.

How­ever, the man­i­fest pat­tern of the at­tacks against the Yezidi “pointed to the in­tent of ISIS to de­stroy the Yezidi as a group,” the re­port says. This “strongly sug­gests” that ISIS may have per­pe­trated geno­cide.

The re­port, re­quested by the UN Hu­man Rights Coun­cil at the ini­tia­tive of the Gov­ern­ment of Iraq,* cites the bru­tal and tar­geted killings of hun­dreds of Yezidi men and boys in the Ninewa plains last Au­gust. In nu­mer­ous Yezidi vil­lages, the pop­u­la­tion was rounded up. Men and boys over the age of 14 were sep­a­rated from women and girls. The men were then led away and shot by ISIS, while the women were ab­ducted as the ‘spoils of war.’ “In some in­stances,” the re­port found, “vil­lages were en­tirely emp­tied of their Yezidi pop­u­la­tion.”

Some of the Yezidi girls and women who later es­caped from cap­tiv­ity de­scribed be­ing openly sold, or handed over as “gifts” to ISIS mem­bers. Wit­nesses heard girls – as young as six and nine years old – scream­ing for help as they were raped in a house used by ISIS fighters. One wit­ness de­scribed how two ISIS mem­bers sat laugh­ing as two teenage girls were raped in the next room. A preg­nant woman, re­peat­edly raped by an ISIS ‘doc­tor’ over a pe­riod of two and a half months, said he de­lib­er­ately sat on her stom­ach. He told her, “this baby should die be­cause it is an in­fi­del; I can make a Mus­lim baby.”

Boys be­tween the ages of eight and 15 told the mission how they were sep­a­rated from their moth­ers and taken to lo­ca­tions in Iraq and Syria. They were forced to con­vert to Is­lam and sub­jected to re­li­gious and mil­i­tary train­ing, in­clud­ing how to shoot guns and fire rock­ets. They were forced to watch videos of be­head­ings. One child was told, “This is your ini­ti­a­tion into ji­had….you are an Is­lamic State boy now.”

Bru­tal treat­ment was meted out by ISIS to other eth­nic groups, in­clud­ing Chris­tians, Kaka’e, Kurds, Sabea-Man­deans, Shi’a and Turk­men. In a mat­ter of days in June, thou­sands of Chris­tians fled their homes in fear af­ter ISIS or­dered them to con­vert to Is­lam, pay a tax, or leave.

Also in June, around 600 males held in Badoush pri­son, mostly Shi’a, were loaded onto trucks and driven to a ravine, where they were shot by ISIS fighters. Sur­vivors told the UN team that they were saved by other bod­ies land­ing on top of them.

Those per­ceived to be con­nected with the Gov­ern­ment were also tar­geted. Be­tween 1,500 to 1,700 cadets from Spe­icher army base, most of whom are re­ported to have sur­ren­dered, were mas­sa­cred by ISIS fighters on 12 June. The find­ings of Iraqi Gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­ga­tions into both the Badoush and Spe­icher in­ci­dents have yet to be made public.

ISIS fighters are re­ported to have re­lied on lists of tar­gets to con­duct house-to-house and check­point searches. A for­mer po­lice­man stated that when he showed his po­lice ID card to ISIS fighters, one of them slashed the throats of his fa­ther, five-year-old son and five­month-old daugh­ter. When he begged them to kill him in­stead, they told him “we want to make you suf­fer.”

The in­ves­ti­ga­tion team re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from nu­mer­ous sources who al­leged that Iraqi Se­cu­rity Forces and af­fil­i­ated mili­tia had com­mit­ted se­ri­ous hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions dur­ing their counter-of­fen­sive op­er­a­tions against ISIS.

Dur­ing the sum­mer of 2014, as their mil­i­tary cam­paign against ISIS gained ground, the re­port says, mili­tias seemed to “op­er­ate with to­tal im­punity, leav­ing a trail of death and de­struc­tion in their wake.”

In mid-June, flee­ing Iraqi forces al­legedly set fire to an army base in Sin­sil, in Diyala prov­ince, where 43 Sun­nis were held prisoner. In an­other in­ci­dent, at least 43 pris­on­ers were al­legedly shot dead in the al-Wahda po­lice sta­tion in Diyala. Vil­lagers re­ported be­ing rounded up and taken to al-Bakr air­base at Salah-ad-Din where, the re­port says, tor­ture is al­legedly rou­tine. There were also nu­mer­ous ac­counts of Sun­nis be­ing forced from their homes at gun­point.

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