UN To Investigate Islamic State's "Acts Of Inhumanity On Unimaginable Scale"

The United Nations is sending investigators to Iraq to look at crimes being committed by ISIS militants on what officials describe as being on "an unimaginable scale." The organization plans to hold the guilty parties to account.

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Earlier this week, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) decided to send a fact-finding team to Iraq to investigate possible war crimes by ISIS

UN officials are to investigate atrocities in Iraq after persistent reports that Islamic State fighters have carried out "acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale", including beheadings and other killings, forced conversions, slavery and sexual abuse.

Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. special representative of the secretary-general for children and armed conflict, said ISIS is using children as suicide bombers.

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In the face of new depravities in Iraq, the Geneva-based council adopted a resolution sponsored by more than 100 states calling for the urgent dispatch of a fact-finding mission and required it to report back in March

Of the council’s 47 members, only South Africa withheld support, saying the resolution was ambiguous and lacked balance. The United Nations already has a 42-person team monitoring human rights in Iraq, working from Baghdad and other cities.

But officials said the human rights council will now send an 11-person team that will operate separately, focusing on abuses arising from the behavior of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni extremist group that has seized parts of northern Iraq and has boasted about its brutalities against nonbelievers.

Speaking in an emergency debate on the crisis in Geneva, Flavia Pansieri, the UN's Deputy Human Rights Commissioner, said Iraqi government forces had also committed atrocities in three months of fighting, though not on the same scale, Reuters reported

Flavia Pansieri, UN deputy high commissioner for human rights, during the emergency debate in Geneva

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Pansieri said she was particularly worried about the persecution of Christians, Yazidis, Shia, Turkomans and other ethnic groups by IS forces. "These communities have lived side by side, on the same soil, for centuries and in some cases for millennia," she added.

More than a million people have fled the ISIS onslaught in recent weeks, Flavia Pansieri, the deputy high commissioner for human rights, told the council. She reported summary mass executions, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sexual abuse, torture and the besieging of entire communities.

“The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale,” Ms. Pansieri told diplomats as she opened the emergency session. ISIS fighters killed at least 650 non-Sunni inmates of a Mosul prison, forcing them into ditches and shooting them, Ms. Pansieri said. Afterward, she said, “the bodies were then examined and any men that appeared to be alive were shot in the head.”

Detailing other atrocities, Ms. Pansieri said that 1,500 young conscripts were missing after ISIS captured their base, and videos confirmed by witnesses showed hundreds of handcuffed men systematically shot. ISIS forces also killed at least 1,000 members of the Yazidi minority and kidnapped or enslaved 2,750 others, she said.

Islamic State published pictures purportedly showing Yazidi men converting to Islam last month

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Pansieri told the council that ISIS had ordered strict rules for women living in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and other areas in its control

Iraqi Shiite Turkmen, mostly women and children, try to board an Iraqi Army helicopter aid flight bringing supplies to Amerli on Saturday, August 30.

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“Women are not allowed to walk in the street without the presence of a male guardian, and there are more and more reports of women being beaten” for infractions, she said.

Iraqi security forces also committed abuses that may amount to war crimes, Ms. Pansieri said, reporting killings of detainees and citing an attack by Shiite militia fighters on a Sunni mosque killing at least 73 men and boys and wounding 38 others.

While Iraq's Human Rights Minister, Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani, told the UN session that IS fighters "oozing with barbarity" threatened his country, he did not immediately respond to allegations against government troops

"Isis is not an Iraqi phenomenon," he told the 47-member human rights council. "It is a transnational phenomenon that poses an imminent danger to all countries of the world."

The council agreed to send a mission to Iraq to investigate all abuses by IS and "associated terrorist groups". Islamic State, previously known as Isis, has seized large areas of Iraq and neighbouring Syria, declaring a cross-border caliphate (Islamic state) and driving hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from their homes. At least 1,420 people were killed in Iraq in August alone. Abuses carried out by the group included the filmed beheading of the abducted US journalist James Foley.

The one-day session was called by Iraq with the support of allies including the US and Iran. The new UN Human Rights Chief, Prince Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, is a member of the Jordanian royal family.

Prince Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein, New UN Human Rights Chief.

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Diplomats convened after the US launched airstrikes to prevent IS advancing on the Kurdish capital of Irbil and to help protect members of the Yazidi minority who were stranded in Iraq's northwest.

The US ambassador to the UN forum, Stephen Harper, urged Iraq's prime minister designate Haider al-Abadi to set up a multi-ethnic government that would investigate all allegations against government forces and terrorist groups. "The stories that have emerged from IS's bloody assault on Iraq are the ones of nightmares," he said. "Christians and others have been driven from their homes with the threat of 'convert or die.' The Yazidis have been buried alive, beheaded or killed in mass executions."

Meanwhile, ISIS has beheaded another America journalist and released his video, putting blame on President Obama:

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