(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay Monday condemned as "cold-blooded" executions of hundreds of Iraqi hors de combat soldiers, civilians and religious leaders in the recent days by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
"Based on corroborated reports from a number of sources, it appears that hundreds of non-combatant men were summarily executed over the past five days, including surrendered or captured soldiers, military conscripts, police and others associated with the Government," Pillay said in a press release.
"Although the numbers cannot be verified yet, this apparently systematic series of cold-blooded executions, mostly conducted in various locations in the Tikrit area, almost certainly amounts to war crimes." According to information received by the UN human rights staff on the ground, in the past few days, forces affiliated with ISIL also executed the Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mosul on June 12 for refusing to pledge allegiance to ISIL.
Reports of additional executions of religious leaders have also been received, including on Saturday, June 14, when 12 local Imams were allegedly executed in front of Al Israa mosque, also in Mosul, for the same reason.
"The provocative language used by ISIL, which has been talking about 'liquidating herds of sheep' and inciting sectarian tensions is clearly intended to sow further chaos and bloodshed in the country," Pillay said.
"The people of Iraq have shown remarkable resilience in the face of constant suffering over the past decade. This new wave of fighting and extreme violence is very dangerous, not just to Iraq but to the entire region.
"I urge all the country's political and religious leaders to unite in their opposition to these efforts to rip the country apart along sectarian or geographic lines," she added.