A new report says ISIS is guilty of committing war crimes and 'possibly genocide' against the people of Iraq
At least 18,800 people were killed and a further 36,245 were wounded in Iraq by ISIS between January 1, 2014, and October 31, 2015, according to a new report by the United Nations (UN).
The report, released on Tuesday, said the Islamist militants were guilty of committing acts of “staggering violence” against the Iraqi people.
Since January 2014, 3.2 million people have been internally displaced, including more than a million children of school age, and more than 3,500 people, mainly women and children, have been enslaved.
“ISIS continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide,” the UN report says.
ISIS have committed “gruesome public spectacles, including by shooting, beheading, bulldozing, burning alive and throwing people off the top of buildings”, it continues.
“Information received and verified suggests that between 800 and 900 children in Mosul had been abducted by ISIS for religious education and military training.”
ISIS have also continued to “subject women and children to sexual violence, particularly in the form of sexual slavery,” the report adds.
Members of Christian and other minority ethnic and religious communities have been targeted by ISIS, with the militants “intentionally depriving” these groups of “their fundamental rights and subjecting them to a range of abuses under international human rights and humanitarian law.”
The report, compiled by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, adds that “these acts appear to form part of a systematic and widespread policy that aims to suppress, permanently expel, or destroy many of these communities within ISIS areas of control.”
However, during the reporting period, the number of individual reports of such abuses received by the UN “markedly decreased from previous reporting periods”.
“It is likely that most of the members of ethnic and religious minority communities formerly located in areas of ISIL control have been killed or abducted by ISIS, or fled those areas during the period starting from June 2014 up to April 2015,” the report explained.
Multiple examples of atrocities carried out by ISIS in Iraq, including against Christians, are included in the report.
In one incident, a member of the Christian community in Baghdad was abducted from his home and killed, despite his family having paid a ransom. His body was later found in the al-Qanat area, eastern Baghdad.
The body of another member of the Christian community was found in the Garage Amana area, also in eastern Baghdad.
The report also highlights the burning of homes belonging to Christians “and other and minority religious and ethnic communities”.
ISIS destroyed eight houses belonging to Christian families in Hamdaniya district, north of Mosul, Ninewa, and also also blew up houses belonging to Christians in Hay al-Arabi, north of Mosul, and in the al-Zahoor area, in the centre of Mosul city.
ISIS also targeted Christian and Yezidi places of worship, the report said. The al-Tahira church, in Mosul city, was destroyed using bulldozers. The church belonged to the Syrian Orthodox community.
The terrorists also reportedly used explosives to destroy the Syriac Orthodox church in al-Muhaniseen area, east of Mosul.
Other incidents of ISIS violence recorded in the reports include the killing of 19 women in Mosul who refused to have sex with fighters and the killing of three men in Ninewa for allegedly committing homosexual acts. The men died after being thrown off a building.
In another incident, women were offered as sex slaves to the top three winners of a Koran memorisation competition in Mosul.
The report also said the UN has “received information that ISIS has used, or has attempted to use, chlorine gas in attacks”.