The United Nations human rights office today confirmed that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has established unlawful, so-called ‘shari’a courts’ in the territory under its control that have been carrying out cruel and inhuman punishments against men, women and children.
Those who are punished are accused of ‘violating the group’s extremist interpretations of Islamic shari’a law or for suspected disloyalty,’ said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), at a Geneva briefing this afternoon.
“The ruthless murder of two men, who were thrown off the top of a building after having been accused of homosexual acts by a so-called court in Mosul, is another terrible example of the kind of monstrous disregard for human life that characterised ISIL’s reign of terror over areas of Iraq that were under the group’s control,” she added.
Last week, ISIL also posted photos on the web of two men being ‘crucified’ after they were accused of banditry. The men were hung up by their arms and then shot dead. Photos were also posted of a woman being stoned to death, allegedly for adultery.
OHCHR has received numerous other reports of women who had been executed by ISIL in Mosul and other areas under the group’s control, often immediately following sentences passed by its ‘shari’a courts.’
“Educated, professional women, particularly women who had run as candidates in elections for public office seem to be particularly at risk. In just the first two weeks of the year, reports indicated that three female lawyers were executed,” said Ms. Shamdasani.
Other civilians who are suspected of violating ISIL’s rules, or who are suspected of supporting the Government of Iraq, have also been victims. Four doctors were recently killed in central Mosul, allegedly after refusing to treat ISIL fighters. On 1 January, ISIL reportedly executed 15 civilians from the Jumaili Sunni Arab tribe in al-Shihabi area, Garma district, Fallujah.
“They were apparently shot dead in front of a large crowd for their suspected cooperation with Iraqi Security Forces. In another incident, on 9 January, ISIL executed at least 14 men in a public square in Dour, north of Tikrit, for refusing to pledge allegiance to it,” Ms. Shamdasani confirmed.
OHCHR has also been following reports of the release of a group of sick and elderly Yazidis, which included accounts that a ransom was paid. There are also reports that a ransom has been demanded made for Japanese hostages. The Japanese Government is in the process of verifying whether the video of the hostages is authentic, she said in response to questions.
Finally, she said OHCHR will continue to document human rights abuses and violations taking place in Iraq and is expected to present a report to the Human Rights Council in March.