UN official: Iraqi government must make public investigations of rights violations by troops
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A senior United Nations official on Thursday urged the Iraqi government to speed up investigations into allegations of human rights violations committed by security forces during the campaign against the Islamic State (IS).
Following an official visit to Iraq, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard, highlighted “the importance of translating the military defeat over [IS] into victories for accountability and over impunity.”
Since the emergence of the militant group in 2014, the Iraqi forces’ fight against IS has been smeared with human rights violations committed by government forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militias.
International human rights groups have often labeled the violations, ranging from extrajudicial killing of extremists to forced displacement and detention of civilians, as war crimes.
Callamard added that Iraqi officials should “respond effectively and impartially to allegations of violations in order to build and strengthen confidence.”
The Iraqi government has acknowledged some of these allegations in the past, but have argued they were “individual acts,” vowing to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators.
However, no official outcomes of punishments have been made public by the government.
“Investigations have already taken place, but the problem is that there is not transparent reporting on the outcomes of those investigations,” Callamard explained.
On Thursday, Iraqi forces announced the launch of a campaign to clear a large desert area from remaining IS militants.
Despite the recent gains made by security forces in Iraq, extremists are still active in a remote “desert triangle” linking the provinces of Anbar, Nineveh, and Salahuddin.
Editing by Sam A.