Responding to the news that the Iraqi Parliament voted to establish a multi-ethnic committee to investigate events in the city of Tuz Khurmatu, 65 kilometres south of Kirkuk, Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle-East at Amnesty International said:
“The establishment of this committee is a welcome step, which not only could be a step towards securing justice for victims of violations in Tuz Khurmatu, but also should serve as a deterrent against future violations and abuses.
“On 16 October 2017, tens of thousands of civilians were forced to flee their homes after fierce clashes between Iraqi forces, supported by the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), and Peshmerga forces. Hundreds of homes and shops in Kurdish-majority neighbourhoods were looted, set on fire, and destroyed. Within minutes, thousands of people lost their homes, shops and everything they owned.
The Iraqi government must ensure that the investigation conducted by the committee is thorough, effective and transparent, Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle-East at Amnesty International
“The Iraqi government must ensure that the investigation conducted by the committee is thorough, effective and transparent, that the victims receive full reparation, and that the findings of the committee are released publicly. Evidence of individual criminal responsibility should be referred to the judiciary for possible prosecution.”
“Displaced families have been living in fear for months, not knowing whether they will ever be able to go back home. Authorities must move quickly to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure the safe return of families to Tuz Khurmatu.”
Amnesty International was one of the first organizations to conduct an in-depth investigation of the violations that occurred in Tuz Khurmatu on and soon after 16 October, when Iraqi forces supported by the Popular Mobilizations Units (PMU) took control of the city.
The UN followed up by undertaking two monitoring missions to Tuz Khurmatu on 7 and 14 December.