GENEVA - The United Nations accuses the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant of wide-ranging human rights violations. Investigators say the Sunni Islamist group has killed hundreds of civilians and wounded many more since its invasion of Iraqi cities began early this month.
According to U.N. investigators, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has been accumulating a large and grisly record of gross human rights violations since its invasion of northern Iraq early this month.
Human rights investigators working with the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq say they have verified numerous alleged violations perpetrated by this group. But they assert that the numbers they cite of civilians killed and injured are underestimated.
The U.N. report finds at least 757 civilians were killed and 599 injured in Nineveh, Diyala and Sala al-Din Provinces between June 5 and 22. U.N. Human Rights spokesman Rupert Colville said these figures include summary executions and extra-judicial killings of civilians, police, and soldiers who were not fighting.
“At least another 318 people were killed, and a further 590 injured during the same period in Baghdad and areas in the south, many of them as a result of at least six separate vehicle-borne bombs," said Colville. "Abductions continue to be reported in the northern provinces and in Baghdad. These include a number of cases of foreigners, such as the 48 Turkish citizens abducted from Turkey’s consulate when ISIL captured Mosul.”
The U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq documents the cases of dozens of other foreigners, as well as Shia civilians and members of minority groups that have been abducted in Mosul, Baghdad and other places. It said some of those kidnapped have been released, while others have been subsequently found dead, in some cases by summary execution.
The report highlights dozens of videos broadcast by ISIL showing cruel treatment and beheadings and shootings of soldiers and police officers out of combat. It says some of these people apparently are targeted because of their religion or ethnicity.
But Colville also said the Iraqi army has allegedly carried out at least two summary executions of prisoners and the killing of 31 detainees at a police station. He said these cases still are not verified.
“UNAMI human rights officers, have however, confirmed another reported summary execution of prisoners by ISF [Iraqi Security Forces] personnel as they withdrew from the Nineveh Operations Command center in Mosul. In this case, grenades were reportedly thrown into rooms filled with detainees, killing at least 10 and injuring another 14,” he said.
The United Nations is urging the Iraqi authorities to swiftly and thoroughly investigate these alleged crimes.
Colville said the United Nations will continue to collect evidence of wrongdoing by ISIL. He said the information could be used to bring the perpetrators to justice.