IRAQ: A DECADE OF ABUSES – Amnesty International Report March 2013

March 13, 2013 at 10:22 am | Posted in Turkmens | Leave a comment


Ten years after the US-led invasion that toppled the brutal dictatorship of Saddam Hussein,
Iraq remains mired in human rights abuses. Thousands of Iraqis are detained without trial or
serving prison sentences imposed after unfair trials, torture remains rife and continues to be
committed with impunity, and the new Iraq is one of the world’s leading executioners. The
government hanged 129 prisoners in 2012, while hundreds more languished on death row.
Yet, when he launched the campaign of “shock and awe” in March 2003, that swept away
Saddam Hussein’s regime within just four weeks, then US President George W Bush justified
the military intervention partly on human rights grounds, pointing to the many grave crimes
committed under the Iraqi leader.1
The decade since, however, as this report shows, has
brought only limited change although tens of thousands of Iraqis’ lives have been lost, mostly
during the political and sectarian violence that succeeded the armed conflict and continues
to this day. As the record shows, in the years when they held sway, the US-dominated
coalition of occupying forces created their own legacies of human rights abuse, for which
there is yet to be full accountability, and failed to implement new standards that
fundamentally challenged the mould of repression set under Saddam Hussein.

Today, assuredly, many Iraqis enjoy greater rights and freedom than existed under the ousted

dictator but the margin of improvement is far less than it should be, and the country remains
wracked by political, religious and other divisions and serious abuses of human rights.
The violence of the past decade has devastated Iraq and its people. By early 2013, the Iraq
Body Count organization had recorded more than 110,000 violent civilian deaths, including
at least 14,800 deaths it said were caused by the US-led Coalition Forces2
(renamed the Multinational Force at the official end of the occupation on 30 June 2004 and,
subsequently, United States Forces – Iraq on 1 January 2010 after the departure of all nonUS forces).3
Many civilians have also been killed or injured by Iraqi forces acting alone, in
joint operations by Iraqi and coalition forces, or by members of private military and security
companies hired to guard and protect foreign officials and other foreign nationals employed
or engaged in Iraq.
The greatest number of deaths and injuries of civilians, however, has resulted from the
actions of armed groups opposed to the presence of foreign troops and to the Iraqi
governments that have held office since the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) handed
power back to Iraqi control at the end of June 2004. Armed militias affiliated to political
parties have also been responsible for many killings. Today, armed groups opposed to the
government continue to mount suicide and other bomb attacks, often targeting busy venues
and locations such as marketplaces where civilians are present, or religious pilgrims, as well
as members of the police and security forces. Violence by armed groups and political militias
has also encompassed abductions and hostage-taking, political assassinations and forced
displacement of people from their homes or the areas in which they reside. The internal
armed conflict intensified and became increasingly sectarian following a bomb attack that
targeted and largely destroyed the holy Shi’a Al-Askari shrine in Samarra in February 2006.
The sectarian violence this sparked caused hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to become
Index: MDE 14/001/2013 Amnesty International March 2013 8 Iraq: A decade of abuses
internally displaced within their own country and hundreds of thousands more to flee as
refugees to neighbouring states, particularly Syria and Jordan.



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