Monday, December 18, 2017

Iraqi court systems violate human rights—And they are a product of the US government and army

By SJ Otto
The newly liberated land in Iraq is turning out to be a hell hole for all those who did ANYTHING to cooperate with the ISIS (Islamic State) government before it fell. People have been given ridiculously long prison terms and they are being executed for simply having had a job that in any way helped the ISIS officials who ruled over that part of Iraq for the last few years.
There has been a report from a Human Rights Watch (HRW) that criticized Iraq and the autonomous Kurdish authorities over mass trials of suspected ISIS group militants. According to The Times of Oman:

"In "Flawed Justice: Accountability for ISIS Crimes in Iraq", HRW said Baghdad and the Kurdish authorities in the north were holding "thousands of trials of IS suspects without a strategy to prioritise the worst abuses under Iraqi and international law". "The
broad prosecution under terrorism law of all those affiliated with ISIS (IS) in any way, no matter how minimal, could impede future community reconciliation and reintegration, and clog up Iraqi courts and prisons for decades," the New York-based group said.
Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East director, said that in acting this way, "Iraqi justice is failing to distinguish between the culpability of doctors who protected lives under ISIS rule and those responsible for crimes against humanity".

The report goes on to say that Iraqi justice is failing to distinguish between culpability of doctors who protected lives under ISIS rule and those responsible of actual crimes against humanity. Even lawyers who have represented accused ISIS collaborators have been targeted as criminals just for doing their jobs. It is getting harder now for those accused of ISIS crimes to get legal representation during these trials. HRW identified 7,374 cases of suspects charged since 2014, of whom 92 have been executed. The Times article continues:

"Its (HRW) researchers estimate the total number of people imprisoned for suspected IS membership at 20,000. Anti-terrorism laws allow judges to charge a large number of people, even those not involved in violence but who are suspected of having helped IS, such as doctors who worked in hospitals or cooks who fed fighters."

These courts are including life in prison or the death penalty, even for belonging to the jihadist group.
Sarah Leah Whitson, writing for Human Rights Watch and Reuters:

"At the height of its power in Iraq, Islamic State (also known as ISIS) controlled 40 percent of the country’s territory and the daily lives of millions of Iraqis. Tens of thousands of Iraqis came to serve the ISIS administration, including as doctors, teachers, judges, cooks, and lawyers, arguably contributing to the group’s control of the cities it occupied.
Just as Iraqis were forced to join the Baath party under Saddam Hussein, many in ISIS-controlled areas say they were forced to join the group to keep their jobs – though no doubt some also supported ISIS’s extremism."

It would be easy to just claim that this is Iraq and this is what passes, in that culture, for normal behaviour. But the truth is that it was the US army that went in and trained the Iraqi troops and led their armies to remove ISIS from all Iraq territory. The Iraq Army is a part of the Iraq government that the US built from the ground floor up. In other words this is an extension of the US government and the US Army. All of this is a product of the US. The responsibility for these human rights abuses fall squarely on the US government and its policies in this part of the world. On top of all of these unnecessary and repressive trials, are other human rights abuses, such as a policy of executing all captured soldiers. There are no prisoners of war being kept in Iraq because all capture soldiers are executed shortly after they surrender. 
This is the results of a policy of US imperialism where Iraq was already an occupied country by the US. It is a part of what are leaders call "nation building." The idea is to recreate so called "democracies" that fully support the US Empire and its goals and objectives. There is no effort to further develop the economies of these puppet states nor is there any real effort to create a system of justice. The US has created an ugly repressive state to serve its own interest and not the interest of the people who live under these repressive so called "democracies."
During this war the US mainstream press did a good job of letting us know how repressive life was under ISIS occupation. Now that the battles are over there seems to be little interest in letting Americans know what kind of repression the US has replaced ISIS with. 

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