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Eli Lake

Why Iraq Doesn't Prosecute Militia Atrocities

U.S. humanitarian law may limit support for re-taking Mosul.
Off to Mosul?

Off to Mosul?

Source: AFP/Getty Images

Since Iraq began sending tens of thousands of volunteer fighters in 2014 to battle the Islamic State, evidence has mounted that some of these militias have committed atrocities against civilians. But so far, the Iraqi legal system has turned a blind eye.    

Basam Ridha, the Washington representative of what are officially called the Popular Mobilization Forces, told me last week that no Iraqi suspected of murder, torture or arson against the civilian population has been prosecuted by courts or sent to prison. Instead, suspects have usually been detained at military bases for a few weeks and then set free.