Iraq: ISIS Bombings Are Crimes Against Humanity
Recent car and suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) targeting crowded markets and hospitals in Baghdad amount to crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said. The Iraqi authorities should improve its implementation of the law to compensate victims of “military mistakes and terrorist actions” as part of its efforts against ISIS.
“ISIS has routinely carried out devastating attacks that appear designed to inflict maximum death and suffering on ordinary Iraqis,” said Nadim Houry, director of the terrorism and counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch. “The Iraqi and international strategy against ISIS should not ignore the victims of these and other unlawful attacks by all sides.”
Governments have the responsibility under international law to protect the lives of all those under their jurisdiction and to bring those who commit criminal offenses to justice. They should consider establishing mechanisms to address the needs of victims, including but not limited to reparations.
In recent weeks, several deadly attacks have mainly targeted Baghdad’s Shia-majority eastern districts. On December 31, 2016, two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a central market of Baghdad, killing at least 25 people and wounding 50, according to Iraqi police. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.
“It is usually Iraqi civilians who bear the brunt of ISIS bombings,” Houry said. “These victims often remain nameless and faceless, yet their well-being and those of their families is a critical element in the fight against ISIS.”
“While the Iraqi authorities have set up compensation mechanisms for victims, it is essential to develop a more comprehensive national plan,” Houry said. “The government should ensure that victims feel they are effectively supported psychologically and medically, and are able, if they wish, to participate in legal proceedings against those who attacked them.”
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