Evidence shows that the Islamic group ISIS who massacred scores of captured Iraqi soldiers “almost certainly” committed war crimes, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said Monday.Pillay said the exact number of deaths could not yet be verified but that the “systematic series of cold-blooded executions, mostly conducted in various locations in the Tikrit area, almost certainly amounts to war crimes.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the reports of the ISIS executions “deeply disturbing” and said those responsible must be brought to justice. The Secretary General warned against sectarian rhetoric in Iraq that could inflame the entire region and perpetuate the conflict.
The Islamic militants who overran cities and towns in Iraq last week have posted graphic photos on a militant website that appear to show masked fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, loading the captives onto flatbed trucks before forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms tied behind their backs. The final images show the bodies of the captives soaked in blood after being shot at several locations.
Iraq’s chief military spokesman, Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, confirmed the photos’ authenticity Sunday and said he was aware of cases of mass murder of captured Iraqi soldiers in areas held by the ISIS.
This report was compiled with information from The Associated Press.