Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Spain's Tagus river is drying up

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

'Looking for Oum Kulthum': Breaking the glass ceiling in the art world

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Alabama sent a message to women'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs learn to meditate

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

African leaders meet in Paris ahead of G5 Sahel summit

Read more

FOCUS

USA: Voters speak out ahead of Alabama Senate race

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Facebook to pay taxes where it earns advertising revenue

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Arnie sets green example in Paris

Read more

THE DEBATE

One Planet Summit: Who's going to pay for the switch to renewable energy?

Read more

Middle East

Iraqi forces ‘executed prisoners in reprisal’ for ISIS killings

© Mohammed Sawaf, AFP | Iraqi security forces

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-12

Iraqi forces and government-affiliated militias appear to have executed at least 255 prisoners over the past month in apparent revenge for killings by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS or ISIL), a rights group said on Saturday.

The killings took place in six Iraqi towns in villages since June 9, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW), and at least eight of the dead were boys under 18.

In all but one case, the executions were carried out while the Iraqi forces were fleeing from ISIS and other armed Sunni groups as they launched a lightening offensive in parts of the country’s north and west, HRW said on its website.

The vast majority of security forces and militias are Shiite, while the murdered prisoners were Sunni, the rights group added.

“The mass extrajudicial killings may be evidence of war crimes or crimes against humanity, and appear to be revenge killings for atrocities by ISIS,” HRW said.

Militants led by ISIS have made no attempt to hide mass executions of their prisoners. Days after they began sweeping through Iraq's northern cities last month, they released videos showing their masked fighters machine-gunning captive government soldiers lying in shallow graves.

‘Violation of international law’

HRW said it had statements from witnesses, security forces and government officials indicating Iraqi soldiers or police, pro-government Shiite militias, or a combination of the three had extrajudicially executed prisoners, in nearly all cases by shooting them.

It said it had documented five massacres of Sunni prisoners between June 9-21 in the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar in northern Nineveh province, in Baaquba and Jumarkhe in eastern Diyala province, and in Rawa in western Anbar province.

It said residents and activists in those areas believed Iraqi security forces and militias killed Sunni prisoners released by ISIS, to stop them joining the rebellion and in revenge for the killings of government troops.

Joe Stork, HRW deputy Middle East director, said gunning down prisoners was “an outrageous violation of international law”.

“While the world rightly denounces the atrocious acts of (Islamic State), it should not turn a blind eye to sectarian killing sprees by government and pro-government forces,” he said.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-07-12

  • IRAQ

    Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    ISIS leader Baghdadi 'demands Muslim obedience' in video

    Read more

COMMENT(S)