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    UN says Islamic State committed war crimes at Iraqi prison

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) – The head of a United Nations (UN) team investigating atrocities in Iraq said that Islamic State (IS) extremists committed crimes against humanity and war crimes at a prison in Mosul in June 2014, where at least 1,000 prisoners were systematically killed.

    Christian Ritscher told the UN Security Council on Thursday that evidence collected from mass graves containing the remains of victims of executions carried out at Badush Central Prison and from survivors shows detailed preparations of the attack by senior Islamic State members followed by an assault on the morning of June 10 that year.

    “Prisoners captured were led to sites close to the prison, separated based on their religion and humiliated,” he said. “At least 1,000 prisoners were then systematically killed.”

    Ritscher said the investigators’ analysis of digital, documentary, survivors and forensic evidence, including Islamic State documents, has identified a number of members from the extremist group, also known as IS or ISIL, who were responsible for the crimes.

    As a result of the investigations, he said the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes committed by the IS group in Iraq has concluded that IS committed “crimes against humanity of murder, extermination, torture, enforced disappearances, persecution and other inhumane acts” at Badush prison as well as the “war crimes of willful killing, torture, inhumane treatment, and outrage upon personal dignity”.

    Islamic State fighters seized Iraqi cities and declared a self-styled caliphate in a large swathe of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. The group was formally declared defeated in Iraq in 2017 following a three-year bloody battle that left tens of thousands dead and cities in ruins, but its sleeper cells continue to launch attacks in different parts of Iraq.

    In May, Ritscher’s predecessor Karim Khan told the council that investigators had found “clear and compelling evidence” that IS extremists committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in 2014. He also said the militant group successfully developed chemical weapons and used mustard gas.

    Iraqi Taha Al-J is led into the courtroom at Frankfurt’s Higher Regional Court before the verdict is pronounced in Frankfurt, Germany on November 30. The Federal Prosecution accuses him of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, human trafficking and murder. PHOTO: AP
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