Iraq sentences 9 men to death over links to Camp Speicher massacre

The camp became a symbol of ISIS's brutality against Iraqis

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi visits Tikrit and  the site of the camp Speicher massacre. Photo: Media Office of the Prime Minister, Iraq
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Iraq has sentenced nine men to death over the killing of more than 1,700 unarmed soldiers at a former US base in 2014.

The Camp Speicher massacre was carried out by ISIS as they seized territory across northern Iraq seven years ago.

The military base, outside the city of Tikrit, became a symbol of the terror group’s brutality against Iraqis.

“The convicts confessed to their participation in the operation of the Speicher crime and the killing of innocents in the summer of 2014 according to terrorist plots during the control of ISIS gangs in the province,” a statement by Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said.

“The court found sufficient evidence to incriminate the convicts," it said.

The fall of Tikrit in 2014 was part of the ISIS onslaught that stunned Iraqi security forces and the military, which melted away as the militants advanced and captured key cities and towns in the country’s north and west.

Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi visited the site this month and said it will be turned into a museum, blaming corruption and mismanagement for the horrific crime.

The camp had "witnessed one of the most heinous massacres of humanity, and the innocent blood that fell here awakened the Iraqi conscience", he said during his visit.

Photos and videos were released by the insurgents documenting the brutal massacre. They showed soldiers being loaded onto vehicles and forced to lie face down on the ground before being shot dead.

Following the recapture of the area by Iraqi government forces mass graves were discovered in 2015.

Several people were arrested during the government offensive.

Since then Iraq has sentenced dozens of men to death for their participation in the killing under anti-terrorism legislation.

For years, human rights groups have accused Iraqi authorities of inconsistencies in the judicial process and flawed trials, leading to unfair convictions.

The country has put hundreds of suspected terrorists on trial and carried out several mass executions since defeating ISIS in the US-backed military campaign in 2014-2017.

The Iraqi government insists its trials are fair.

The death penalty is part of Iraqi national legislative system, Ali Al Bayati, a member of the Iraqi Human Rights Commission told The National.

“We are hoping for crimes to be held accountable according to international standards including legislation of law that criminalises mass killing, war crimes and crimes against humanity as well as engaging survivors from such crimes in the trials,” Mr Al Bayati said.