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UN raises ‘serious concern’ over unfair trials of Daesh members in Iraq

Iraqi soldiers conduct a military operation against Daesh at the rural areas of Saladdin and Kirkuk, Iraq on 29 December, 2019 [Alı Makram Ghareeb/Anadolu Agency]
Iraqi soldiers conduct a military operation against Daesh in Iraq on 29 December 2019 [Alı Makram Ghareeb/Anadolu Agency]

The United Nations has raised “serious concern” over what it called “unfair trials” of former members of Daesh by the Iraqi judiciary.

A spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) , Jeremy Laurence, told reporters in Geneva that a joint report was prepared by the United Nations Human Rights Office in Iraq (UNAMI) and OHCHR which covered 794 trials held between 1 May 2018 and 31 October 2019.

The report said that while judicial proceedings were “conducted in an orderly manner, were well organised, and judges were routinely prepared with investigation files … defendants had ineffective legal representation and limited possibilities to present or challenge evidence.”

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The report added that “the over-reliance on confessions, with frequent allegations of torture that were inadequately addressed – while constituting a human rights violation in itself – further added to the concerns.”

“Prosecutions under the anti-terrorism legal framework mainly focused on membership of a terrorist organisation, without distinguishing between those who participated in violence, committed international crimes, and those who joined the Islamic State [Daesh] for survival and/or through coercion,” it said.

According to the report, some defendants were tried for “selling vegetables or preparing meals for members of the militant group”, or acting as human shields.

READ: US says no uptick in violence from Daesh in Syria, Iraq

International OrganisationsIraqMiddle EastNewsUN
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