Iraqi soldiers look out from a tank as they advance towards Islamic State positions in the Old City -
REUTERS/Erik De Castro
NEW YORK - 3 November 2017: Daesh fighters executed at least 741 Iraqi civilians in Mosul, including women and children who had tried to flee, during the nine-month battle by government forces to retake the northern Iraq city from the militant group, the United Nations has said.
In a 53-page report detailing atrocities in Mosul that amount to “international crimes,” the United Nations said the executed civilians were among at least 2,521 who were killed during the battle for the city, mostly from Daesh attacks, including indiscriminate shelling and the use of improvised bombs and — increasingly — explosive-laden drones, The New York Times reported.
The report said the militants also carried out mass abductions of civilians, used thousands of civilians as shields in combat with Iraqi soldiers, and forcibly recruited boys as young as nine from families then deployed them as “Cubs of the Caliphate” wearing explosive belts.
The report, produced by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, could be used for war-crimes prosecutions.
“During the course of the operation to retake Mosul city thousands of civilians were subjected to shocking human rights abuses and clear violations of international humanitarian law,” Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, the high commissioner for human rights, said in releasing the report. “Those responsible must answer for their heinous crimes,” he said.
Among the report’s recommendations was allowing the International Criminal Court jurisdiction to pursue justice for victims.
The report also said the Iraqi government could amend the country’s criminal code to grant domestic courts jurisdiction over international crimes.