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Iraq Christians were victims of Islamic State war crimes

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Evidence collected in Iraq strengthens preliminary findings that Islamic State extremists dedicated crimes in opposition to humanity and war crimes in opposition to the Christian neighborhood after it seized a few third of the nation in 2014, a U.N. investigative crew stated in a report circulated Thursday.

The report back to the U.N. Security Council stated crimes included forcibly transferring and persecuting Christians, seizing their property, partaking in sexual violence, enslavement and different “inhumane acts,” similar to pressured conversions and destruction of cultural and non secular websites.

In addition, the crew stated it has recognized leaders and distinguished members of the Islamic State extremist group who participated within the assault and takeover of three predominantly Christian cities within the Nineveh plains north of Iraq’s second largest metropolis, Mosul, in July and August 2014 — Hamdaniyah, Karamlays and Bartella. It additionally began amassing proof on crimes dedicated in opposition to the Christian neighborhood in Mosul.

Islamic State fighters seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled caliphate in a big swath of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. The group was formally declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of 1000’s lifeless and cities in ruins, however its sleeper cells proceed to stage assaults in numerous elements of Iraq.

The 26-page report was submitted by the U.N. Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes dedicated by the Islamic State group, also called IS, ISIL and Daesh.

The crew up to date its investigations into the extremists’ improvement and use of chemical and organic weapons, assaults on the Yazidi and Sunni communities, the mass execution of prisoners and detainees at Badush jail close to Mosul in June 2014, and crimes in and round Tikrit.

In December 2021, the top of the U.N. crew, Christian Ritscher, instructed the Security Council that Islamic State extremists dedicated crimes in opposition to humanity and war crimes on the jail in Badush.

In May 2021, Ritscher’s predecessor, Karim Khan, instructed the council that investigators had discovered “clear and compelling evidence” Islamic State extremists dedicated genocide in opposition to the Yazidi minority in 2014. He additionally stated the militant group efficiently developed chemical weapons and used mustard gasoline.

The new report stated Ritscher’s crew discovered proof of funds to the households of Islamic State members killed deploying chemical weapons and information of funds for coaching senior operatives on the use of chemical weapons and units to disperse such weapons.

The crew stated it’s nonetheless assessing proof of the use of brokers.

“Evidence suggests that ISIL manufactured and produced chemical rockets and mortars, chemical ammunition for rocket-propelled grenades, chemical warheads and improvised explosive devices,” the report stated. “Furthermore, the ISIL program involved the development, testing, weaponizations and deployment of a range of agents, including aluminum phosphide, chlorine, clostridium botulinum, cyanide, nicotine, ricin, and thallium sulphate.”

As for the destruction of cultural and non secular websites by Islamic State fighters, the crew stated it expanded its investigations into completely different Iraqi communities and targeted on a number of areas in Nineveh and Mosul.

This has led to a preliminary stock of over 150 Kaka’i, Shabak and Shia Turkmen websites “suspected of having been destroyed by ISIL, along with enforced displacements, disappearances and sometimes killings of members of those communities,” the crew stated. It additionally recognized locations of worship and heritage websites in Tikrit that were severely broken or destroyed by ISIL.

“The evidence obtained thus far shows that religious and cultural sites were either intentionally destroyed or taken over and occupied by ISIL, sometimes for military purposes, which resulted in their severe damage or destruction,” it stated. “While the motives and methods adopted by ISIL are still being reviewed, it appears that explosives and heavy equipment were used to destroy many of the sites.”

With regard to assaults on the Yazidi neighborhood in Sinjar, the crew stated it has expanded the checklist of recognized perpetrators to at present embrace the names of 2,181 people, together with 156 international fighters.

“In-depth case files have been developed in relation to 30 primary persons of interest,” it stated.

The crew stated it has expanded its investigation into crimes by Islamic State in opposition to the Sunni neighborhood in Anbar, citing progress in its probe of the execution of lots of of members of the Albu Nimr tribe between 2014 and 2016.

The U.N. investigation of the mass execution of detainees at Badush jail on June 10-11, 2014, continues, the crew stated, together with interviews with further witnesses and survivors.

This yielded “new and corroborative evidence on the circumstances under which approximately 1,000 predominantly Shia prisoners were targeted and executed by ISIL inside the prison and in various other locations,” it stated.

The crew stated it has additionally continued investigating crimes in opposition to civilians in Tikrit and Alam in 2014 and 2015, and is gathering additional proof on the mass killing of unarmed navy cadets and personnel from the Tikrit Air Academy in June 2014.

In the approaching months, the investigators stated they plan to concentrate on transitioning from investigations to constructing instances and sharing data with Iraq to spur prosecutions and accountability.

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