Iraq: keep abusive militias out of Mosul campaign

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on July 31 urged Iraqi military commanders to prevent historically abusive militias from participating in the campaign to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State (IS). Last March the Iraqi army began working with Kurdish Peshmerga and affiliates of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) to launch a ground offensive against the IS, which has been holding Mosul since June 2014. Hadi al-Amiri, leader of the Badr Brigades, officially stated  in late June that the PMF would be taking part in the liberation of the city. HRW has stressed, however, that the PMF has a long reported history of abuses, including summary killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and the destruction of homes. In the May campaign to retake Fallujah, there were numerous reports of PMF members abusing civilians, performing executions, and mutilating corpses despite Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's prior declaration that the PMF would not enter the city. In light of the PMF's various reported offenses, HRW stated that the Iraqi army has a duty to protect the civilian population and hold militia fighters accountable for past war crimes.

From Jurist, July 31. Used with permission.

Note: With nearly the entire population of Fallujah displaced in the wake of the battle for the city, aid workers are warning of a humanitarian disaster of massive proportions in the battle for far more populous Mosul.