Shia mili­tia fight­ing IS in Iraq ac­cused of war crimes

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

ER­BIL, Iraq: Mili­tia fight­ing along­side Iraqi troops against Is­lamic State are com­mit­ting war crimes us­ing weapons pro­vided to the Iraqi mil­i­tary by the US, Europe, Rus­sia and Iran, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional said yes­ter­day.

The rights group said that pre­dom­i­nantly Shia Mus­lim mili­tia, known as the Hashid Shaabi, were us­ing weapons from Iraqi mil­i­tary stock­piles to com­mit war crimes, in­clud­ing en­forced dis­ap­pear­ances, tor­ture and sum­mary killings.

Par­lia­ment voted for the Hashid to for­mally be­come part of Iraq’s armed forces in Novem­ber, but the ses­sion was boy­cotted by Sunni rep­re­sen­ta­tives who worry it will en­trench Shia ma­jor­ity rule as well as Iran’s re­gional in­flu­ence.

Iraqi and Western of­fi­cials have ex­pressed se­ri­ous con­cerns about the gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to bring the Shia mili­tias un­der greater con­trol.

“In­ter­na­tional arms sup­pli­ers, in­clud­ing the US, Euro­pean coun­tries, Rus­sia and Iran, must wake up to the fact that all arms trans­fers to Iraq carry a real risk of end­ing up in the hands of mili­tia groups with long his­to­ries of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions,” said Amnesty re­searcher Pa­trick Wil­cken.

States wish­ing to sell arms to Iraq should en­sure strict mea­sures to en­sure weapons will not be used by mili­tias to vi­o­late hu­man rights, he said.

Amnesty cited two-and-a-half years of its own re­search, in­clud­ing in­ter­views with former de­tainees, wit­nesses, sur­vivors, and rel­a­tives of those killed, de­tained or miss­ing.

Its re­port fo­cused on four pow­er­ful groups, most of which re­ceive back­ing from Iran: the Badr Or­gan­i­sa­tion, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataib Hezbol­lah and Saraya al-Salam. Spokes­men for the Hashid and for the prime min­is­ter, to whom the fight­ers tech­ni­cally re­port, did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

The Hashid deny hav­ing sec­tar­ian aims or com­mit­ting wide­spread abuses and say they saved the na­tion by push­ing IS back from Bagh­dad’s bor­ders af­ter the army crum­bled in the face of the ji­hadists’ light­ning ad­vance in 2014. – Reuters

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.