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US-trained unit linked to Mosul war crimes- HRW

A Iraqi military unit that was trained by the United States is linked to alleged war crimes in Mosul, where it allegedly executed several prisoners, states Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Human Rights Watch called on the US government to “suspend all assistance and support to the 16th Division pending Iraq’s full investigation of the allegations and appropriate prosecutions”.

Troops from that division are accused of executing several dozen prisoners, including a young boy.

“Under the “Leahy Law,” the US is prohibited from providing military assistance to any unit of foreign security forces if there is credible evidence that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights and no “effective measures” are being taken to bring those responsible to justice,” said HRW.

 “The US government should make sure it is no longer providing assistance to the Iraqi unit responsible for this spate of executions but also suspend any plans for future assistance until these atrocities have been properly investigated,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Given the widespread abuses by Iraqi forces and the government’s abysmal record on accountability, the US should take a hard look at its involvement with Iraqi forces.”

US Defense Department officials  trained the 16th Division, with Maj. Michael Hamilton, an officer of the 82nd Airborne Division, stating in November 2015, that troops received “rudimentary training” from the Americans. He added that, “they were probably the most successful Iraqi army unit participating in that operation”.

See more from HRW here.