The United Nations has called on Iraq to stop executing suspected Islamic State militants convicted of terrorism.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights spokeswoman Liz Throssell told Voice of America on Friday that she’s skeptical of the fairness of the judicial system in Iraq and was not even informed of the executions of 38 men on Thursday until after the fact.
Slightly over three dozen ISIS members were hanged in southern Iraq Thursday after a judge sentenced them to death. Iraq’s justice ministry insisted that all appeals had been exhausted. The last time the government conducted such a large execution was on Sept. 24, when 42 Muslim extremists were executed on terrorism charges.
“That again just underscores the situation, that suddenly we get sort of word, we get news that there has been a mass execution,” Throssell said. “That goes back to the lack of transparency, the lack of information regarding what is happening to these people.”
Throssell’s office is asking for Iraq to stop all executions, due to a lack of transparency and distrust that Iraq’s judicial system is capable of handing down fair verdicts. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also accused Iraq of failing to dispense proper justice.
“This raises the prospect of irreversible miscarriages of justice and violations of the right to life,” Throssell said. “The imposition of the death sentence upon the conclusion of a trial in which fair trial provisions have not been respected constitute a violation of the right to life.”
But according to Iraqi officials, concerns about fairness are overblown. Iraqi Justice Minister Haidar al-Zamili said he “already expects more executions.”
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