UN High Commissioner calls for investigation into war logs allegations


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay has called for an investigation into allegations of abuse and murder of Iraqis within detention centres, following the publication of the Iraq war logs.

The High Commissioner also called for all alleged abuses against Iraqi civilians by US troops to be properly investigated.

The statement follows revelations by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism that the US handed over more than 9,000 detainees to Iraqi authorities despite knowing of hundreds of reports of torture by Iraqi Security forces.

The military files leaked to the whistleblowers website, Wikileaks, show that US troops reported more than 1,300 claims of torture by Iraqi authorities.

Related article: Obama administration handed detainees despite reports of torture

These reports detail complaints of brutality reminiscent of Saddam Hussein’s regime. They include accounts of detainees being whipped with cables, chains, wire and pistols and being burnt with acid and cigarettes. Some accounts describe people having electric shocks to their genitals, fingernails ripped out and fingers cut off. In other cases, the documents report men being sodomised with bottles, hoses and raped.

US troops were still recording allegations of abuse by Iraqi Security Forces as they started to withdraw, logging 112 instances in 2009.

Graphic:  Detentions in Iraq

Commenting on the revelations the High Commissioner said: “The information adds to concerns that serious breaches of international human rights law have occurred in Iraq, including summary executions of a large number of civilians and torture and ill-treatment of detainees.

“The US and Iraqi authorities should take necessary measures to investigate all allegations made in these reports and to bring to justice those responsible for unlawful killings, summary executions, torture and other serious human rights abuses, in line with obligations under international human rights law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which both the US and Iraq are parties.”

Wikileaks gave access to nearly 400,000 military files to key media organsations including the Bureau, the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel and Le Monde.

Related article: Torture widespread in Iraqi detention facilities