Iraq: Investigations, not denials needed over appalling civilian death toll in west Mosul
Responding to statements made by spokespeople for the US-led coalition and the Iraqi forces, Lynn Maalouf Head of Research for Amnesty International in the Middle-East said:
“We are disappointed by the dismissiveness with which the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces have treated our report depicting the immense civilian suffering in west Mosul.
“At the bare minimum, governments who are part of the coalition as well as Iraqi forces must ensure a prompt, impartial investigation into the alleged violations we have documented.
“We hope to see an immediate public acknowledgement of the immense cost to civilians that this battle has caused as well as a transparent response from the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces to the violations and attacks documented by Amnesty International in its report on the west Mosul operation.
“Even wars have laws and there must be accountability when these are violated.
“Amnesty International documented how the armed group calling itself the Islamic State committed horrific war crimes against civilians – but the violations of one party to a conflict is never a justification for its adversary to flout the laws of war.”
“By using explosive weapons with wide area effects and disproportionate airstrikes in densely populated areas, the US-led coalition and Iraqi forces failed to adapt their tactics to the reality on the ground.
“There is no doubt that hundreds, if not thousands, of civilian deaths could have been avoided in west Mosul, had the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition prioritized their protection, as required by international humanitarian law.”
Contrary to statements made by the US-led coalition, Amnesty International sent a letter to the US Department of Defense presenting the preliminary findings of the report on 20 June 2017 and asking for input. Amnesty did not receive any formal written response to this letter.