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Human Rights Watch accuses Iraq of destroying war crimes evidence

Human Rights Watch has accused Iraqi officials of disposing of war crimes evidence.

In a statement released Thursday the rights group said on March 29 2018 government workers removed 80 bodies from a damaged house, raising suspicions of a cover-up of killings of possible Islamic State suspects. Days later, the house had been burned.

“Given the serious abuses in the final weeks of the battle against ISIS in Mosul’s Old City, this site and the bodies should have been preserved as potential evidence for forensic investigators. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi promised to investigate these possible war crimes, but with no tangible results almost a year later, the actions of his own officials at this site speak louder than words,” said Human Rights Watch’s deputy Middle East director, Lam Fakih.

In September, Iraq announced the establishment of a special committee to investigate abuse and hold soldiers accountable.

Noting a lack of accountability for rights violations, Human Rights Watch said,

“Despite multiple inquires, however, Human Rights Watch has been unable o obtain information about the outcomes of the investigations and has found no evidence of any officers being held accountable for abuses in the Mosul operation.”