[JURIST] The UN commission of inquiry for the Syrian Arab Republic [official website] reported on Friday that the Islamic State (IS) is responsible for war crimes [report, PDF] on a “massive scale” in Syria. The report is based on 300 witness accounts that detail the extent of IS’s abuse of Syrian civilians in areas under the group’s control. The UN investigators are especially bothered by IS’s executions and public lashings of Syrian civilians, which often include children. IS has also targeted Syrian women for unapproved contact with the opposite sex and has forced girls as young as 13 years old to marry IS authorities. Commissioner Carla del Ponte explained the nature of the current IS war crimes in Syria:
The commanders of ISIS have acted wilfully, perpetrating these war crimes and crimes against humanity with clear intent of attacking persons with awareness of their civilian or hors de combat.
The report recommends that international accountability mechanisms be implemented to hold IS and others responsible for the war crimes.
IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has caused increasing international alarm over its human rights abuses [JURIST report] since its insurgence into Syria and Iraq in 2013. Last week Human Rights Watch reported that IS militants tortured and abused [JURIST report] Kurdish children in Syria. The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic [official website] expressed grave concerns [JURIST report] last month about escalating violence against civilians. In September, the newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad criticized [JURIST report] IS for its recent killings and human rights violations of women in IS-controlled areas in Iraq.