[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Thursday that Islamic State (IS) [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] militants carried out mass executions of Shiite inmates in Iraq after seizing the Badoush Prison near Mosul in June. According to reports from survivors, Shiite, Kurdish, and Yazidi prisoners were separated from Sunni and Christian prisoners [Haaretz report], who were later returned to Mosul and set free. Approximately 600 inmates were executed [HRW report], with only 30 survivors. Days later, the IS conducted mass executions in Tikrit [JURIST report], boasting of murdering more than 1,700 Iraqi soldiers, although military experts estimate 170 deaths based on photographic evidence.
IS, also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has been causing increasing international alarm over its escalating human rights abuses since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq [CNN timeline] that began in early 2013, prompting strong denouncements and military action against the group. UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic last week expressed grave concern over escalating human rights violations by IS in Iraq. Recent airstrikes against IS by the US and several Arab countries were defended to the UN as necessary [JURIST report] and consistent with the UN Charter to defend Iraq and protect the US from terrorism. Last week the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hassan decried IS for its recent killings and human rights violations against women [JURIST report] in IS-controlled areas in Iraq. Earlier in September Saudi Arabia's conservative top clerical council issued a statement calling terrorism a "heinous crime" [JURIST report] and calling for its perpetrators to be tried in court.