Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi said yesterday that he holds international human rights organisation Amnesty International responsible for “endangering the security” of Mosul’s citizens by publishing “false information” regarding his forces conducting unlawful killings in areas around the city.
“The premier of the Council of Ministers, Dr Haider Al-Abadi, expressed his surprise regarding Amnesty International’s report concerning killings that happened in Mosul that conveyed false information that it was government forces [who were responsible for the killings],” a post on the official Facebook page of Al-Abadi said.
The Iraqi prime minister denied that Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and allied militias such as the predominantly Shia, Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were responsible for the killings.
Al-Abadi said reports like Amnesty’s put civilians in fear, leading to displacement and their exposure to security risks.
“The truth is that local residents killed Daesh militants, and we hold [Amnesty] responsible for any exodus of refugees because these reports make citizens fearful,” Al-Abadi said, adding “We also hold them responsible for any security risks faced by citizens.”
Amnesty International has released several reports in recent weeks since the operation to recapture Mosul began on 17 October.
The international human rights organisation’s most recent report, published yesterday, slammed the ISF, of which the PMF militias are formally a part of, for grave human rights abuses such as executions, torture and violations that carried sectarian motives.
“Researchers from [Amnesty] visited several villages in the [Al-Shora] and [Qayyarah] sub-districts of Ninawa governorate, south-west and south of Mosul, and gathered evidence indicating that up to six people were extrajudicially executed in late October, apparently due to suspicions they had ties to [Daesh].” “The Iraqi authorities must urgently investigate reports that fighters wearing Iraqi Federal Police uniforms tortured and extrajudicially executed residents in villages they captured south of Mosul,” added the report.
According to Amnesty, some victims were found beheaded, usually a trademark of Daesh, the extremist organisation the Iraqi government now claims to be attempted to liberate the people of Mosul from. The adoption of Daesh’s execution methods by ISF and PMF units is, however, nothing new. “Deliberately killing captives and other defenceless individuals is prohibited by international humanitarian law and is a war crime,” Amnesty International explained, urging the Iraqi government to take action to preserve civilian lives.