ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The death penalty is not enough to bring members of the so-called Islamic State to justice for their alleged war crimes and genocide against the civilian population in Iraq, a United Nations human rights official said on Thursday.
Speaking about a recent trial in Iraq where four men, two Iraqis and two Syrians, were handed the death penalty for their role with the Islamic State, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said the trials should do more to “shed light on the inner workings of ISIS.”
Callamard called for “a judicial record of ISIS crimes against people,” and urged the Iraqi government to “take appropriate steps to prosecute the crimes perpetrated against the Iraqi people, including alleged genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.”
“At the very least, the Iraqi prosecutors should have brought additional charges from the Iraqi penal code, such as charges of murder, torture or disappearance, against the defendants, for the purpose of accountability.”
The emergence of the Islamic State in 2014 and its violent assault on areas across Iraq led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of minority groups, notably the Yezidis (Ezidis) in Sinjar (Shingal). Most of them fled to the Kurdistan Region, while others resettled in neighboring countries in the region or Western states.
Others were not as lucky and remained stranded in the war zone, where they experienced atrocities and mass executions at the hands of the extremist group for years.
Militants subjected women and girls to sexual slavery, kidnapped children, forced religious conversions, executed scores of men, and abused, sold, and trafficked women across areas they controlled in Iraq and Syria.
Since declaring military victory over the Islamic State in late 2017 following a devastating three-year war, Iraq has accelerated the pace of prosecutions against suspected members of the extremist group.
Authorities have yet to disclose the number of terrorism suspects in Iraqi prisons and the number of people facing execution or life imprisonment related to terrorism charges.
International humanitarian and human rights organizations, including the UN and Human Rights Watch, say efforts by Iraqi authorities to speed up the implementation of death sentences could lead to the execution of innocent people, especially with the nation’s poor standards of criminal justice.
Editing by John J. Catherine