Do ISIS Fighters Deserve a Fair Trial?

An ISIS fighter being flung from a cliff. (Photo: Screenshot from video)

A video has surfaced showing Iraqi soldiers throwing alleged ISIS fighters from a cliff and shooting the bodies.

The clip shows Iraqi soldiers swarming around a group of prisoners in a ruined building before throwing them of the side to a patch of rocky ground by the water. The Iraqi government has said it is investigating the incident. An Interior Ministry told the BBC that if the reports are genuine they will prosecute those involved.

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Human Rights Watch said it verified the location as being in West Mosul using satellite imagery. The human rights group previously warned about victorious Iraqi soldiers ignoring the rules of war and perpetrating war crimes against Iraqi civilians in Mosul. At the end of June, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing allegations that Iraqi soldiers had beaten and killed unarmed men and boys who are fleeing the fighting.

“As Iraqi forces are poised to retake the entire city of Mosul, allegations of unlawful killings and beatings significantly raise concerns for the civilians there who have been living under ISIS control,” Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said in the report. “Iraqi forces are promising liberation, but they need to find out what’s happening now and stop any abuse.”

The soldiers are reportedly picking out and killing any male of fighting age they believe could be a fighter for the Islamic State. It is not known how many of those killed are actually ISIS fighters and how many are simply civilians caught in the crossfire.

Many feel the crimes committed by the Islamic State mean that the only just thing to do with ISIS fighters is to kill them immediately on site. Although human rights organizations plead for adherence to the rule of law, the justifiable rage felt by many Iraqis against the Islamic State is unlikely to be quelled by an appeal to legality.

Many Iraqi Shias shared their fury on social media by posting the hashtag #PeopleofMosulDeserve and a picture of the destroyed city, according to The Independent. It is widely felt that the people of the overwhelmingly Sunni city of Mosul, who welcomed ISIS into the city with open arms and without firing a shot in 2014, are collaborators who now deserve whatever fate befalls them.

In other areas liberated by the Iraqi army, reprisals and expulsions are being carried out against so-called “Daesh families,” the families of men who joined ISIS. Local leaders have been driving these families out of their villages.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 15-07-2017 14:00:10
End date 17-07-2017 23:59:59
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Do ISIS Fighters Deserve a Fair Trial?
    Elliot Friedland
    Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.