Government forces, paramilitary militias and the armed group calling itself the "Islamic State" committed war crimes, other violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations of human rights in the context of internal armed conflict. The "Islamic State" carried out killings in a manner of execution targeting their opponents and civilians trying to flee their areas of control, raping and torturing prisoners, using civilians as human shields, and using child soldiers. The militias carried out extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture of civilians fleeing the conflict, and destroyed homes and other civilian property. Thousands remained detained without trial on suspicion of links to the "Islamic State". Torture remained in custody. The courts sentenced people suspected of involvement in terrorism to death, and were often sentenced after unfair trials. The executions continued at a high rate.
The armed conflict between the "Islamic State" and a variety of Iraqi government forces, paramilitary militias and "Peshmerga" (Kurdish armed forces) continued to be supported by an international coalition led by the United States in air strikes. The Islamic State continued to dominate areas in northwestern and western Iraq, but lost important areas during the year, including Falluja in June, Qayara in August and Shorqat in September. Military operations to restore Mosul, the largest stronghold still in the hands of the "Islamic State" organization, continued at the end of the year.
Armed conflict, car bomb blasts and other violence led to 6,878 dead and 12,388 civilians injured during the year, according to UN statistics.
In February, Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi issued a "Diwani Order 91" to transform the "popular mobilization forces" established in June 2014, mostly Shiite paramilitary militias, into a "counter-terrorism" force in terms of training and arming And the formation and liaison with the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. In November, Parliament passed the Popular Populist Authority, which is the "popular mobilization force reconstituted under the Diwani Order 91," an independent military formation and part of the Iraqi armed forces and associated with the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
In August, the House of Representatives passed the Amnesty Law. The law does not cover certain types of crimes, such as terrorist acts that have resulted in the death or injury of persons with permanent disabilities; however, it guarantees the right to judicial review of those convicted under the Anti-Terrorism Act and other laws in cases where judgments are based on "confessions" "He said.
Anti-government demonstrations calling for institutional reform and an end to corruption have managed to break through the Green Zone twice, the fortified area of government headquarters in Baghdad. The second time, on 20 May, government forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets and sound bombs to disperse protesters, killing four people. The authorities announced an investigation, but did not disclose any information about its findings or any prosecutions. A proposed law restricting the right to freedom of peaceful assembly was included in Parliament in July, but was withdrawn after it raised public condemnation.
By late September, the remaining Iranian political exiles staying at the Freedom Camp in Baghdad had been resettled outside Iraq. On 4 July, the camp was attacked by a rocket that caused casualties and material damage.
Armed conflict - Violations of militias and government forces
Paramilitary and government forces have committed war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, most of them against Sunni Arabs. Extrajudicial executions and other unlawful killings and torture were carried out, hundreds of men and boys were subjected to enforced disappearance and houses and property were deliberately destroyed.
Following a suicide bombing that killed 27 men and injured 41 in Muqdadiya on January 11, the militias carried out retaliatory attacks on the Sunni community, including the kidnapping and killing of dozens of men, the burning and destruction of mosques, shops and other Sunni property.
On June 3, the Popular Struggle militia abducted an estimated 1,300 men and boys as they fled Saqlawiya, north of Falluja. Three days later, 605 men appeared with signs of torture, while the fate of 643 remained unknown. A commission of inquiry formed by the governor of Anbar found that 49 men were shot, burned or died as a result of torture. On 30 May, at least 12 men and four boys fleeing the Tigris north of Fallujah were extrajudicially executed. Prime Minister Abbadi has set up a commission to investigate the abuses, but the authorities have not disclosed any results of the investigation, or have announced any criminal proceedings against the perpetrators.
The "grassroots" militia and the "clan crowd" militia, composed of Sunni fighters, reportedly recruited and used children to fight the "Islamic state".
The authorities took no steps to clarify the whereabouts and fate of thousands of Sunni Arab men and boys who remained in enforced disappearance after being arrested from their homes, checkpoints, IDP camps by militias and government forces in previous years.
Violations by armed groups
Civilians throughout Iraq were killed and wounded by the Islamic State in suicide bombings and other indiscriminate deadly attacks, deliberately targeting civilians in crowded markets, Shiite religious shrines, and other public places. The "Islamic state" in particular targeted sites inside Baghdad.
A series of attacks across Baghdad in May and concentrated in predominantly Shiite neighborhoods killed 150 people and wounded 214, mostly civilians, according to officials and media reports.
The fighters of the "Islamic State" organization in the areas under its control carried out death-style killings targeting people believed to be opposed to or suspected of collaborating with government forces. The fighters of the "Islamic State" kidnapped people, including civilians, and systematically tortured the prisoners. The "Islamic state" imposed strict rules of conduct and punished its violators with the most severe punishment. The "courts" set up by the group ordered stoning for "adultery", flogging and other corporal punishment, to punish the population for smoking or breaking the dress code or other rules imposed by the "Islamic state". And imposed severe restrictions on the use of telephones and the Internet and on women's freedom of movement. Preventing civilians from fleeing areas under their control and using civilians as human shields. His fighters fired at those trying to flee, destroying their property and launching reprisals against relatives who had remained in their homes. He taught the boys, including the Yazidis, their beliefs, and their soldiers, and used them in battles and suicide attacks. In October, chemical weapons were used to attack the town of Qayara after being recovered by Iraqi forces, resulting in burns and other civilian casualties.
Violence against women and girls
Women and girls suffered discrimination in law and in practice and did not provide them with adequate protection from sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence. In the families of the "Islamic State" in Iraq and Syria, an estimated 3,500 Iraqi women prisoners remained in Iraq, raped and other forms of torture, assaults and enslavement. Those who managed to escape or were released after their relatives paid ransom did not receive sufficient psychological and material support; some committed suicide or attempted suicide.
Arbitrary arrests and detentions
(Aged 15 to 65) who fled the areas under the control of the "Islamic State" organization were subjected to security checks by security forces in temporary detention facilities or temporary reception sites where they were detained for days or months in Severe conditions in most cases. Those suspected of involvement in terrorism were detained by security services such as the Anti-Crime Directorate, the Anti-Terrorist Service or the General Intelligence Branch of the Ministry of the Interior, where they were at risk of torture and other ill-treatment and were often denied contact with their families and lawyers .
Security forces and militia arrested people from their homes who were alleged to be involved in terrorism, at checkpoints, internally displaced persons camps, without warrants and without informing the arrested or their relatives of any charges. Many of them were held for prolonged periods incommunicado and, in some cases, under conditions of enforced disappearance, in facilities controlled by the Ministries of Interior and Defense or secret detention centers where they were interrogated by security officers without lawyers. Thousands remained in detention without being brought before the judicial authorities or brought to trial.
Torture and other ill-treatment
Torture and other ill-treatment continued in prisons, detention centers controlled by the Ministries of the Interior and Defense, and militia-controlled facilities. The most frequently reported methods of torture were beatings on the head and body with metal bars and wires, hanging in painful positions from the arms or legs, electric shocks and threats of rape of female relatives. Torture was apparently practiced to extract "confessions", obtain information, and punish detainees. A number of detainees died in custody as a result of torture.
In October, the "clan buildup" of the villages south of Mosul, suspected of links to the "Islamic State", was subjected to beatings with metal cables, public insults and electric shocks using stun guns.
The criminal justice system continued to suffer from serious shortcomings and unfair trials continued in an orderly fashion. It was common for defendants, particularly those suspected of terrorism, to be denied the right to adequate defense, not to criminalize themselves or to confess guilt, and to discuss prosecution witnesses. The courts continued to accept torture-related "confessions" as evidence, without ordering the investigation of the defendants' allegations or referring them to forensic examination. Some of those convicted following unfair trials were sentenced to death.
Refugees and internally displaced persons
More than 3.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) remained throughout Iraq, living in host communities or IDP camps, informal settlements and under construction. Many of them suffered destitution / lived in appalling conditions; humanitarian agencies reported a significant shortfall in international funding. Thousands fled across the border into Syria.
Iraqi authorities and the semi-autonomous KRG authorities imposed arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on the freedom of movement of Sunni Arab IDPs. Tens of thousands remained stranded in camps without access to the labor market or access to essential services because they had no local residents and were therefore unable to obtain the official declarations required to enter the cities.
Tens of thousands of internally displaced persons have been able to return to their homes in areas restored by the government and allied forces of the Islamic State, including the cities of Ramadi and Falluja, after undergoing rigorous security checks. However, tens of thousands of internally displaced Sunni Arabs from areas of the "Islamic State" in the provinces of Babel, Diyala and Salahuddin have been prevented from returning to their homes through a combination of cumbersome administrative procedures and intimidation by militias, such as abductions, arbitrary detention , And extrajudicial executions. The relatives of suspected "Islamic State" fighters were prevented from returning, some of the houses were deliberately destroyed or taken. Peshmerga forces and other Kurdish security services have also prevented tens of thousands of Arab residents in areas controlled by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) displaced by the conflict from returning to their homes.
Freedom of expression - media workers
Journalists were working in precarious and sometimes fatal situations, reporting physical attacks, intimidation, harassment and death threats to address sensitive issues such as corruption and militia abuses.
Two media workers, Saif Talal and Hassan al-Anbouki, who worked for Al-Sharqiya television, were shot dead on January 12 in north-west Diyala as they returned after reporting a suicide bombing in Muqdadiya and targeted retaliatory attacks by militias Arab Sunnis. The channel accused members of a militia that did not identify them, but the authorities did not conduct a full investigation into their deaths.
In April, the Iraqi Communications and Media Commission closed the office of Al-Jazeera in Baghdad, accusing the channel of "inciting sectarianism and violence." In March, the authorities closed the offices of the Baghdadiya television channel in Iraq, claiming that they were operating illegally without a permit. The channel has published articles on government corruption and protests demanding reform, and has been closed several times in recent years.
Kurdistan Region of Iraq
Workers in the media, activists and politicians who criticize the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) were harassed and threatened and some were expelled from Erbil. There has been no progress towards investigations into killings of journalists and others believed to have been critical of or opposed to Kurdish authorities in previous years.
On 13 August, the relatives of the journalist Wadad Hussein Ali received his body. The journalist was working in a publication seen as supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The body sustained injuries indicating that he had been tortured, including severe cuts in the head. Witnesses told his family that he was found alive earlier in the day in a village west of Duhok after unidentified assailants seized him in the street at gunpoint. His family and colleagues reported that he had previously been interrogated by the Asayish (Kurdish Internal Security Forces) forces in Dohuk and received death threats. The authorities announced an investigation two days after his death, but did not disclose its outcome by the end of the year.
Asayish and other Kurdish security forces arrested thousands of terror suspects, most of them Sunni Arab men and boys, delayed their long-term access to the judiciary, deprived them of extended family visits, and committed other irregularities in due process. In October, authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) said Asayish Keshti (the Public Security Agency) and Asayish Branch in Erbil had arrested 2801 terror suspects since the beginning of the year.
Basma Darwish, a Yazid woman imprisoned in the organization of the Islamic State, has been held without trial in Erbil since her arrest in October 2014 in the town of Zammar when the Peshmerga forces retrieved it from the organization of the Islamic State. The authorities accused her of collaborating with the organization of the Islamic State in the killing of three members of the Peshmerga, but did not bring her to trial, denied her the right to a lawyer of her choice, and did not conduct an independent investigation into allegations of torture by officials of the Public Security Directorate Dohuk after arrest.
Courts in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq continued to issue death sentences in terrorism-related offenses; no executions were carried out.
The death penalty
The courts sentenced dozens of people to death by hanging; dozens of executions were carried out. Public pressure and political pressure mounted on the authorities to execute "terrorists" following a suicide bombing in the Karrada district of Baghdad on July 2 that killed nearly 300 people, mostly civilians. A militia leader threatened to kill prisoners sentenced to death in Nassiriya prison if the government did not act. On 12 July, President Fuad Masoum ratified a law amending the Criminal Procedure Code to limit the possibility of retrial in order to speed up the execution.
On 21 August, the government announced the execution of 36 men convicted of participating in the massacre of Islamic State fighters, which killed nearly 1,700 Shiite military cadres at the Spekker military training camp in June 2014, President Fouad Masoum has ratified the death sentences. They were convicted after a trial that lasted only a few hours and was characterized by violations of the right to a fair trial, including the failure of the court to adequately investigate the defendants' allegations that their "confessions" had been extracted under torture.