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UN reports possible war crimes in Iraq

[JURIST] There is evidence of serious human rights violations committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) [BBC profile], associated armed groups, Iraqi security forces (ISF) and associated forces in the last month, including some that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [official websites] reported [press release] Friday. The report [report, PDF] documents various human rights violations, including: deliberate targeting of civilians, kidnapping, extrajudicial executions, targeted killings and violence against children. The report notes that in the month of June, at least 1,531 civilians were killed and 1,763 were wounded.

Iraq has been seized with violence since ISIS began its insurgency [JURIST op-ed] last year. Last week Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that Iraqi security forces have extrajudicially executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners. Earlier this month the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq [official website] reported [JURIST report] that 1,531 Iraqi citizens and 886 members of the Iraqi Security forces were killed in June. Also in June UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] expressed grave concern [JURIST report] about the human rights abuses that are occurring in Iraq as a result of the ISIS insurgency. That same month, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani issued a call for jihad [JURIST op-ed] against ISIS. In February HRW stated that the killing of four Iraqi SWAT members [JURIST report] by ISIS amounted to crimes against humanity.

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