Iraqi command says Amnesty’s human rights violations claims “unrealistic”

The spokesman for the Joint Operations Command Brigadier General Yahya Rasoul

Baghdad ( Iraq’s security command on Tuesday dismissed a human rights report suggesting Iraqi forces’ involvement in human rights breaches during the war against Islamic State in Mosul as “unrealistic”.

Responding to a report by Amnesty International, Yahia Rasoul, spokesperson of the Joint Operations Command, which has led the battle against IS militants in Mosul since October, said “Iraqi forces have preserved civilians’ lives”. He added that the troops “used light and medium-sized weapons, excluding all kind of heavy weaponry”.

He said Islamic State militants, on the other side, committed all kinds of human rights violations.

“Amnesty International should come to Mosul and observe what the armed forces do on the ground away from accusations that do not represent the reality,” Rasoul stated.

Amnesty International called on Tuesday for a commission to investigate crimes against civilians in Mosul by all sides in the battle to liberate the Iraqi city from Islamic State (IS) terror group. The organization accused the Iraqi forces and US-led coalition of carrying out unlawful attack and the use of imprecise and explosive weapons, noting that they “failed to adapt their tactics to this reality and continued to use imprecise and explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated urban environments”.

Earlier on Tuesday, Zeid Raad Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that while Iraqi forces should be given credit for sacrifices during the Mosul campaign, “there have also been allegations of human rights violations and abuses by the ISF and associated forces, as well as by individuals taking revenge against captured ISIL fighters or people accused of supporting them”.

“Horrific though the crimes of ISIL are, there is no place for vengeance. It is therefore disturbing to hear reports that threats of collective punishment, including illegal forced evictions, have been made against families whose relatives are suspected of being affiliated to ISIL. Such punishments are an act of vengeance that works against national reconciliation and social cohesion,” Zeid said.

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