UN report on liberation of Mosul: ISIL members should face “international crimes” charges
A UN report concludes that the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Daesh) perpetrated serious and systematic violations that amount to “international crimes” during the nine-month military campaign to liberate Mosul City in Iraq.
The report, published on Thursday by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), is based on direct witness testimony, and documents 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.
In July 2017 Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and affiliated armed groups retook the city which had fallen under the control of ISIL in June 2014.
“During the course of the operation to retake Mosul City thousands of civilians were subjected to shocking human rights abuses and clear violations of international humanitarian law,” said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. “The execution-style killing of civilians, the suffering inflicted on families, and the wanton destruction of property can never be tolerated in any armed conflict, and those responsible must answer for their heinous crimes.”
The report recounts that early in November 2016, in areas of Mosul under ISIL control, members of the group used loud speakers to announce that residents of areas retaken by the ISF were considered as “legitimate targets” because of their ‘failure’ to fight against Government forces.
“This so-called ‘fatwa’ was accompanied by a sustained campaign of ISIL attacks on eastern Mosul that directly targeted civilians,” the report states. “Tactics included shelling, use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and shooting fleeing civilians.”
The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq, Ján Kubiš, said the report documents evidence of the mass atrocities committed by ISIL against civilians and Mosul itself, a city they claimed as their capital but for which, in reality, they sought its ultimate and deliberate destruction.