BAGHDAD: The United Nations accused Islamic State fighters in Iraq of executing religious and other leaders as well as teachers and health workers, forcibly recruiting children and raping women among acts that amounted to war crimes.
A UN report focused on a range of violations committed against civilians, particularly by the Islamic State, though it also said Iraqi forces and allied fighters had not taken precautions to protect civilians from violence. “(This)…may also amount to war crimes,” the report found.
At least 5,576 Iraqi civilians have been killed this year in violence, the UN said in the most detailed account yet of the impact of months of unrest culminating in advances by militants led by the Al-Qaeda offshot Islamic State, formerly known as ISIL, across the north.
“ISIL and associated armed groups have also continued to… perpetrate targeted assassinations (community, political, and religious leaders, government employees, education professionals, health workers, etc.), sexual assault, rape and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls, forced recruitment of children, kidnappings, executions, robberies.”
The report also accused them of wanton destruction and plundering of places of worship and of cultural or historical significance. “Credible information on recruitment and use of children as soldiers was also received,” the report noted. “Every day we receive accounts of a terrible litany of human rights violations being committed in Iraq against ordinary Iraqi children, women and men, who have been deprived of their security, their livelihoods, their homes, education, health care and other basic services,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.
The report also details violations committed by government forces and affiliated groups, citing “summary executions/extrajudicial killings of prisoners and detainees,” which it said may constitute a war crime.