Monday, 18 December, 2017

Iraqi forces push north into IS-held Hawija

Iraq Launches Offensive to Retake ISIS Bastion Hawija The Iraq launched an attack on one of the last strongholds of ISIS
Sammy Stanley | 23 September, 2017, 04:25

Personnel will consist of both worldwide and domestic experts who will work "on equal footing", with an initial mandate of two years.

Use of the evidence collected by the team in other venues, such as global courts, would "be determined in agreement with the Government of Iraq on a case-by-case basis".

The Iraqi government worked with Britain to draft the measure.

But Human Rights Watch criticized the resolution as a missed opportunity by the council "to address war crimes and rights abuses by all sides to the conflict in Iraq". "And while this resolution is about the transnational ISIS threat, we support accountability for all violations of worldwide humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses".

The unanimously adopted resolution, tabled by the United Kingdom, establishes an "Investigative Team" of experts to support the Iraqi government in collecting, preserving and analyzing evidence of serious crimes. "It is a major first step towards addressing the death, suffering, and injury of the victims of crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq - crimes that include genocide".

Nadia Murad, Yezidi genocide survivor and UN Goodwill Ambassador, tweeted that she was present at the Security Council meeting for the resolution. The authorities have made no efforts to solicit victims' participation in the trials.

Iraq Launches Offensive to Retake ISIS Bastion Hawija
UN to help Iraq investigate ISIS crimes

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the launch of the operation to retake Hawijah early on Thursday.

Peshmerga forces have played a key role in fighting Islamic State, which captured large swathes of Iraqi territory in 2014. Iraqi forces, backed by US-led airpower, have already recaptured the northern cities of Mosul and Tel Afar this year.

On Wednesday, coalition spokesman Col Ryan Dillon tweeted that the Iraqi air force had dropped three million leaflets over Hawija "urging [IS] surrender and providing safety instructions for civilians".

The "Investigative Team", to be headed by a United Nations special advisor, will gather and preserve evidence of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by IS members in Iraq. Capital punishment is unique in its cruelty and finality, and it is inevitably and universally plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error.

Other member states can request the team to collect evidence of acts committed by ISIL on their territory, but only with the approval of the Security Council, which may request the secretary general to submit separate terms of reference. The Security Council stipulates that the terms of reference should specify the appointment of Iraqi investigative judges and other criminal experts to the team to work "on an equal footing alongside global experts".

Iraqi army soldiers, federal police officers, elite Rapid Response Force troops, Sunni Arab tribesmen and fighters from the Shia-led paramilitary Popular Mobilisation were reportedly advancing on six axes.

North Korea says it may test hydrogen bomb in Pacific
It is unusual for the North Korean leader to issue such a statement in his own name. Kim Jong-un responded via North Korea's state media.

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