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UN Calls for International Prosecution of ISIS Members

UN Calls for International Prosecution of ISIS Members

Friday, 3 November, 2017 - 06:15
Smoke billows as an Iraqi woman and children flee the Old City of Mosul on July 3, 2017, during the government forces' ongoing offensive to retake the city from ISIS. AFP photo

A report issued Thursday by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an international trial of ISIS members over crimes they have committed in Iraq.

Following ISIS’ defeat in Mosul, the UN rights office said it had compiled witness testimony documenting "mass abductions of civilians, the use of thousands as human shields, the intentional shelling of civilian residences, and indiscriminate targeting of civilians trying to flee the city".

At least 2,521 civilians were killed during the nine-month battle including 741 people who were executed, the report said.

Most died as a result of ISIS attacks. There were more than 1,600 injured.

At least 74 mass graves have been discovered since June 2014 in areas previously held by the terrorist organization in Iraq, the UN report said.

"Those responsible must answer for their heinous crimes,” the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, said in a statement.

The UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, said evidence shows that ISIS committed mass atrocities against civilians and Mosul itself, a city they claimed as their capital, but for which, in reality, they sought its ultimate and deliberate destruction.

ISIS’ “reign of terror has spared no one, inflicting untold suffering on unarmed residents whose only guilt is that they lived in the areas” under its control, he said.

“Their evil acts did not stop at killing and terrorizing residents, as they wantonly destroyed cultural and religious monuments, including the city’s iconic leaning minaret Al-Hadba, in total disregard of history and Islam, the religion this terrorist organization falsely claimed to represent,” Kubiš added.

The report recounts that, in areas of Mosul under ISIS control, members of the group used loud speakers to announce that residents of areas retaken by the Iraqi forces were considered as “legitimate targets” because of their failure to fight against government forces.

It called on the international community “to take action to ensure that those responsible for international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes are held accountable.”

“The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government should ensure that crimes committed in connection to the armed conflict are appropriately subject to the jurisdiction of national courts and tribunals,” said the report.

It also called for introducing amendments to local legislation to grant domestic courts jurisdiction over international crimes committed and the exercise of the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction with respect to the specific situation faced by the country.

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