[JURIST] Iraqi security forces have extrajudicially executed at least 255 Sunni prisoners [press release], Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] reported Friday. HRW estimates that the executions are revenge for killings [JURIST report] committed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) [BBC backgrounder], a Sunni extremist group. Many of the individuals were reportedly arrested under Article 4 [text, PDF] of Iraq’s anti-terrorism law and had yet to face trial. HRW concluded its report by calling for an international commission of inquiry to be established to investigate violations of the laws of war and human rights laws by all participants in the Iraqi conflict.
Iraq has been seized with violence since ISIS began its insurgency [JURIST op-ed] last year. Earlier this month the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq [official website] reported that 1,531 Iraqi citizens [JURIST report] and 886 members of the Iraqi Security forces were killed in June. Also in June the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights 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.