Flawed Justice: Accountability for ISIS Crimes in Iraq

The 76-page report, “Flawed Justice: Accountability for ISIS Crimes in Iraq,” examines the screening, detention, investigation, and prosecution of some of the thousands of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects in Iraq. Human Rights Watch found serious legal shortcomings that undermine the efforts to bring ISIS suspects to justice. Most significantly, there is no national strategy to ensure the credible prosecution of those responsible for the most serious crimes. The broad prosecution under terrorism law of all those affiliated with ISIS in any way, no matter how minimal, could impede future community reconciliation and reintegration, and clog up Iraqi courts and prisons for decades.


Oil and Borders: How to Fix Iraq’s Kurdish Crisis

September’s independence referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan has pushed Baghdad to take control of Kirkuk and its oil fields from Kurdish control. To avert the threat of further direct confrontation, the two sides must agree to a reinvigorated UN-led effort to settle longstanding disputes over internal boundaries and shared oil revenues.

Guilt by Association: Iraqi Women Detained and Subject to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

After the liberation of Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) occupation in July 2017, Refugees International (RI) traveled to Iraq to examine the specific challenges faced by women and girls in the aftermath of the military operation. Among the most urgent issues are the detention and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) of Iraqi women and girls perceived or alleged to be affiliated with ISIS by Iraqi Security Forces and other Iraqi authorities. For the security of the survivors and the humanitarians in whom they have confided, RI did not directly interview any of the affected women and girls. However, RI interviewed dozens of humanitarian actors with knowledge of violations occurring in camps in Ninewa, Salaheddin, and Anbar governorates. Based on the consistency of reporting and the experience and reputations of the actors involved, RI believes the information provided in this brief is credible and merits the concern of the government of Iraq and organizations with responsibility for humanitarian issues in the wake of military operations to defeat ISIS.


Too much too soon: displaced iraqis and the push to return home

The battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq is in its late stages, but in the aftermath of the conflict new challenges arise. There are 11 million people in Iraq who need humanitarian assistance. The original causes of their vulnerability — conflict and displacement – may be lessening, but their unmet daily needs remain.

Eyes on the Ground: Realizing the potential of civilian-led monitoring in armed conflict

(27/07/2017). This report is about harnessing developments already in motion internationally to produce better information about human rights and IHL violations in situations affected by conflict. Its main contention is that local civil society actors can be enabled, with the help of modern technology, to become central actors in the processes of monitoring, documentation and reporting. Empowering local activists has not only practical value, in that these activists often have the closest access to victims of violations, but normative value as well, because it makes monitoring more inclusive, participatory, and meaningful to local populations. The basis of this report is the experience of the Ceasefire Centre for Civilian Rights and Minority Rights Group International in implementing a system of civilian-led monitoring in Iraq between 2014 and 2017, which is presented as a case study to illustrate one possible application of the approach put forward throughout the report. 

How the Islamic State Rose, Fell and Could Rise Again in the Maghreb

(24/07/2017). Report Nº 178 / Middle East & North Africa. Despite its ongoing demise in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State (ISIS) could prove resurgent in the Maghreb if past lessons and lingering threats remain unheeded. Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia should go beyond security and military measures to address persistent local grievances and tensions that ISIS has proven adept in exploiting.

Iraq: at any cost: the civilian catastrophe in west Mosul, Iraq

The battle for west Mosul has caused a civilian catastrophe. Civilians have been ruthlessly exploited by the armed group calling itself the Islamic State (IS), which has systematically moved them into zones of conflict, used them as human shields and prevented them from escaping to safety. They have also been subjected to relentless and unlawful attacks by Iraqi government forces and members of the US-led coalition. Residents of west Mosul count themselves lucky if they escape with their lives.