HRW: International Observers Discovered Execution Site In Western Mosul

HRW: International Observers Discovered Execution Site In Western Mosul

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said international observers have found an execution site in western Mosul, the former Islamic State (ISIS) stronghold where Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the city’s liberation last week.

HRW released a report on Wednesday (July 19) stating Abadi has yet to demonstrate that Iraqi authorities have held a single soldier responsible for murdering, torturing and abusing Iraqis in the conflict in the country.

“As Prime Minister Abadi enjoys victory in Mosul, he is ignoring the flood of evidence of his soldiers committing vicious war crimes in the very city he’s promised to liberate,” the Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson, said.

“Abadi’s victory will collapse unless he takes concrete steps to end the grotesque abuses by his own security forces,” she added.

HRW called on the Iraqi criminal justice authorities to investigate all alleged crimes, including unlawful killings and mutilation of corpses by any party in the conflict.

The perpetrators who are found responsible for the crimes should be prosecuted, HRW said. Extrajudicial executions and torture during armed conflict are “war crimes,” the organization added.

“Relentless reports, videos, and photographs of unlawful executions and beatings by Iraqi soldiers should be enough to raise serious concerns among the highest ranks in Baghdad and the international coalition combatting ISIS,” Whitson said. “As we well known in Iraq, if the government doesn’t provide an accounting for these murders, the Iraqi people may take matters into their own hands.”

The prime minister's victory announcement on the evening of July 10 signaled the biggest defeat for the hardline Sunni group since its lightning sweep through northern Iraq three years ago. In total, 80 percent of the city as a whole has reportedly suffered damage or been destroyed by fighting, leaving behind a mammoth task of rebuilding.

The Old City, Mosul's historical heart, has been among the hardest hit areas by the house-to-house fighting backed by airstrikes, artillery and heavy machine guns used to uproot ISIS militants, who had resisted with suicide bomb attacks and booby-trapped nearly all buildings.