UN condemns reports of Iraq extrajudicial killings
GENEVA - The UN's human rights chief on Friday condemned reports of summary executions and extrajudicial killings in Iraq amid fears of mounting abuses by jihadists as they advance across the north of the country.
"The High Commissioner Navi Pillay is expressing extreme alarm at the dramatic deterioration of the situation in Iraq," Rupert Colville, her spokesman, told reporters in Geneva.
The rights chief was especially concerned by verified reports of "summary executions and extrajudicial killings and the massive displacement of an additional half a million people" by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), he added.
In the past week, the fighters from the Islamist group have overrun a succession of major towns and cities and were on Friday closing in on Baghdad.
According to the UN mission in Iraq, "the number of people killed in recent days may run into the hundreds and the number of wounded is said to be approaching one thousand," Colville said.
Pillay "will be warning parties to the conflict that they are obliged under international law to treat members of the armed forces who have laid down their arms or are hors de combat humanely," he said.
"Murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture constitute war crimes," he added.
The UN had received disturbing reports after the capture of Iraq's second city Mosul, including the suicide of four women who had reportedly either been raped or forced to marry ISIL soldiers.
One report included the "summary executions of Iraqi soldiers (and) of 17 civilians" thought to have been working for the police, in one particular street in Mosul city on the 11th of June.
A court employee and 12 people believed to have been serving with Iraqi security services or police had been executed in the central Mosul neighbourhood of Dawasa, he added.
Militants have also carried out several kidnappings in Mosul, including the seizure of dozens of Turks from a consulate and 16 Georgians working for an Iraqi communications company.
Colville also pointed to reports that ISIL militia members had freed and armed prisoners, who were now out searching for those they believed were responsible for their incarceration to take revenge.
Former prisoners for instance reportedly "went to Tikrit and killed seven former police officers who had worked in the prison," he said.
"There are also reports that ISIL check points are specifically targeting former soldiers and police, especially one from one particular tribe -- the Jarobi tribe -- which is perceived as being close to the government," he added.