Rights violations in Mosul were individual acts, says Iraqi PM

Iraq's prime minister has acknowledged that human rights violations were committed during the battle to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group, but says they were "individual acts".

Haider al-Abadi told reporters during a press conference that those who behind such acts were either "ignorant" of the consequences or "had a deal with Daesh" with the intent "to defame us and the security forces".

Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS.

He said such violations against the law and a person's dignity "are not acceptable", and pledged that his government will punish the perpetrators.

Shortly after declaring victory over IS in Mosul, videos emerged on social media showing troops throwing captured IS suspects off a high wall, then shooting their bodies below.

This file photo made from undated video posted online in July, 2017 shows a man in an Iraqi Army uniform, moments after shooting an unarmed man in Mosul, Iraq.

Iraqi security forces are also accused by Human Rights Watch of forcibly moving dozens of women and children with alleged links to IS to a tent camp near Mosul that authorities describe as a "rehabilitation camp".

The New York-based watchdog said the camp in Bartella, around 12 miles east of Mosul, had been opened recently, following a government directive to have IS family members undergo "psychological and ideological rehabilitation".

It houses at least 170 families, mostly women and children from areas of western Mosul, where the last battles against IS took place.

"Iraqi authorities shouldn't punish entire families because of their relatives' actions," said Lama Fakih, the Middle East deputy chief at HRW.

"We are against collective punishment," Mr al-Abadi said.

"If their (IS militants) families cooperated with them in their crimes against civilians, then they will face legal consequences, but those who didn't take part ... will not face anything."

Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul after the city was held for around three years by the Islamic State group.

IS militants were notorious for atrocities, both against civilians and Iraqi security forces, often hunting down anyone connected with the police or military after they overran territory.

The assault to retake Mosul also involved grinding urban warfare in which the security forces suffered heavy casualties.

AP


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