[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] reported [press release] on Monday that Islamic State (IS) fighters killed up to 670 prisoners in Mosul and committed other crimes in Iraq that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Pillay stated that IS has systematically targeted men, women and children based on their ethnic, religious or sectarian affiliation. Pillay urged donors to send humanitarian aid to areas affected by the fighting. She also reminded both sides that they must exercise caution and avoid directly targeting civilians.
Iraq has experienced mounting unrest since IS (also known as ISIS) began its insurgency in 2013. Earlier this week the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq [official website] Nickolay Mladenov called for immediate action [JURIST report] to stop the inhumane activity caused by IS in Amerli. The UN [JURIST report] and Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] have consistently expressed [JURIST report] alarm over the violence occurring in the country including numerous executions of Iraqi civilians, religious leaders and government affiliates by IS members and the Iraqi government’s execution of Iraqi nationals for terrorism related offenses [JURIST reports]. The IS-instigated atrocities in Iraq began in June of 2013, two years after US troops pulled out [JURIST backgrounder] of the country. This violence was soon followed by the rebel group detonating [JURIST report] a series of car bombs near Bagdad in order to facilitate a prison raid, killing 60 people.