Destruction of civilian homes in Tikrit (Iraq)

Streets in Tikrit (Iraq) on April 1, 2015 after the city had been recaptured form ISIS Streets in Tikrit (Iraq) on April 1, 2015 after the city had been recaptured form ISIS © 2015, Reuters/Thaier Al-Sudani

The Human Rights Watch’s report “Ruinous Aftermath” highlights the destruction after the government recapture of Tikrit from ISIS.


Iraqi government-backed militias destroyed hundreds of civilian homes and committed war crimes.
The Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the destruction of civilian homes following the Iraqi government's recapture of Tikrit in April and March 2015. After the recapture of Tikrit and nearby towns, Iraqi government-backed militias destroyed hundreds of civilian homes and businesses, detained residents accused of being ISIS members and tortured and executed accused citizens.

In violation of the laws of war, militia forces looted, torched and blew up hundreds of homes and buildings in Tikrit and neighbouring towns. Tikrit suffered the greatest destruction, with an estimated 279 houses destroyed and 400 stores burned and looted. Witnesses also reported looting and unlawful killings in Tikrit. Video coverage shows militia men loading up appliances from a local store. The store’s three floors were emptied and burned. Militia forces accused many citizens, including policemen, of being ISIS members and conducted torture, illegal killings, and forcibly removed the accused. More than 160 men and boys remain missing.

The Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi promised to hold militia forces accountable for such unlawful behavior, but has yet to act. Iraqi citizens who fled Tikrit and neighbouring towns have reported fear of returning to their homes. Displaced citizens worry that the government-backed militias will not be monitored and will continue to put their lives endanger.

The HRW’s report included several recommendations for the Iraqi government. Adequate compensation or alternative housing should be provided to civilians whose homes have been unlawfully destroyed by Iraqi security forces or pro-government militias. Ensuring access to humanitarian agencies for all civilian needs, including those in need of housing, was also recommended.      

 

To read the full report:

http://www.hrw.org/report/2015/09/20/ruinous-aftermath/militias-abuses-following-iraqs-recapture-tikrit

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