Iraq: A decade of abuses

March 11, 2013

Iraq: A decade of abuses

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The information contained in this report is based on research that Amnesty International has conducted throughout the past decade drawing on an extensive range of official, public and confidential sources within Iraq and outside the country. These include face to face and telephone interviews with victims of human rights abuses and their families, and reviews of court and other documents. Information was gathered also during periodic field missions that Amnesty International has undertaken to the Kurdistan Region. In September 2012, Amnesty International representatives visited Baghdad and met and had discussions with officials of the Ministry of Human Rights and the Supreme Judicial Council, as well as non-governmental sources, including victims of human rights abuses and their families, lawyers, human rights activists, journalists and others. In February 2013, Amnesty International visited two prisons at Erbil and a third, Fort Suse Prison, near Suleimaniya in the Kurdistan Region, and was able to speak without the presence of prison staff to inmates. Almost all prisoners held at Fort Suse Prison had been convicted by criminal courts in central and southern Iraq.

Many individuals who have spoken to Amnesty International about what they have seen or experienced in Iraq agreed to do so only on condition of anonymity due to concern for their own safety and of those close to them. Some said they had declined to file formal complaints with the Iraqi authorities after being subjected to torture or other ill-treatment because they fear that this would place them or their families in renewed jeopardy and expose them to the possibility of re-detention, further torture or other ill-treatment. Amnesty International recognizes and appreciates the debt it owes to such individuals as well as to Iraq's determined community of human rights activists, and it pays tribute to them and to all who continue to work for an end to human rights abuses in Iraq.

The last section of this report includes recommendations addressed to the government of Iraq, concerning measures that it should take urgently to halt the serious human rights violations detailed below - detention without trial, torture and other ill-treatment, unfair trials, and the death penalty - and in order to implement reforms to prevent their repetition.

Other recommendations are addressed to the governments whose military forces participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequently formed part of the occupying force, principally the USA and the UK, regarding measures needed to ensure full accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law allegedly committed in Iraq by members of their armed forces.