Iraq begins final assault to capture Hawija from Islamic State

Pauline Gross
September 22, 2017

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution passed today aimed at holding the armed group calling itself Islamic State (IS) accountable for war crimes and human rights abuses in Iraq falls short of what is needed to stamp out a unsafe culture of impunity and could fuel further abuses, said Amnesty International.

The group overran about a third of Iraq in 2014. However, the resolution crucially fails to include any provisions to ensure accountability for crimes committed by Iraqi forces and others responsible for grave violations of worldwide law, including war crimes, during the conflict.

The new UN Security Council's resolution stipulates that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres should establish an investigative team to help Iraq's authorities investigate into the crimes committed by IS militants and bring them to justice.

"They have already suffered horribly under ISIS rule in the city".

After the defeat of Daesh in Mosul and the recapture of adjacent areas, Hawija and neighbouring towns form the last enclave still held by Daesh in Iraq apart from a section of the Euphrates Valley downstream from the border with Syria.

Mr Shakaram said it was imperative that Iraqi and coalition forces opened up safe escape routes for civilians, and called on them to avoid the use of explosive weapons in populated areas. After it passed, Alastair Burt, the British minister of state for the Middle East, announced that the United Kingdom would provide 1 million pounds ($1.35 million) to the investigative effort.

The US is leading air campaigns against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

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"It's a huge milestone for all of those who've been fighting for justice for victims of crimes committed by ISIS", the British attorney, who is married to actor George Clooney, said in the Facebook Live video.

Iraqi Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Rashid Yarallah, deputy commander of the joint operations, told The Associated Press that along with the push to liberate Hawija, Iraqi forces and Shiite militias are also fighting to liberate the villages near the town of Sherqat, on the east side of the Tigris River.

United Nations investigators will be able to help identify victims and perpetrators and "provide an indispensable record of the scope and scale" of ISIS atrocities, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said.

But Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said it came up short.

In the western Anbar province, Iraqi forces retook the town of Rihana on Wednesday, according to a statement from the coalition. "The pursuit of justice is essential to all victims. regardless of who is responsible". They are thought to have used the city to plan attacks overseas.

"It's been a long time coming; in the meantime, evidence has been lost and we've lost some opportunities along the way, but the fact that we have this resolution now means that justice is finally possible", she said.

Other reports by GizPress

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