ICC prosecutor praises pursuit of justice in Mosul

Karim Khan calls on government to legislate for domestic war crimes trials

British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan walks in the streets of the holy city of Najaf in central Iraq during his visit to the war-torn country's Shiite Muslim Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani on January 23, 2019. - Khan, an ex defence lawyer of Liberian former President Charles Taylor, heads a United Nations team authorized over a year ago to investigate the massacre of the Yazidi minority and other atrocities by jihadists in Iraq. 
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in September 2017 to bring those responsible for Islamic State group war crimes to justice -- a cause championed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney. (Photo by Haidar HAMDANI / AFP)

Leading figures from the law and military have offered support for a project that allows people subjected to the daily terrors of ISIS occupation in Iraq to tell the world of their ordeals in a series of podcasts.

Omar Mohammed, a historian who secretly reported from the city and exposed the terrorists' actions to the world through his Mosul Eye blog, created four podcasts to tell the stories of those who experienced it on the ground.

Iraq’s second largest city Mosul fell to ISIS in 2014 until the government regained control with the help of international forces in 2017.

Speaking at an event hosted by programme on extremism at George Washington University, which publishes MosulPodcast, the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan, also former head of the UN’s ISIS war crimes unit, praised Mr Mohammed’s courage in exposing the insurgents' “tyranny”.

“We look forward to the government of Iraq implementing domestic legislation to prosecute ISIS’s crimes against humanity and war crimes,” he said.

“By doing that we will hopefully manage to achieve the imperative to confront violent extremism. These podcasts call out what took place.

“When I have been to Mosul over the last few years I have seen the vibrancy. Not only evident in the Pope’s visit in March but also in the rebuilding of the mosques and the returning of individuals.”

Mr Mohammed said the podcasts were about the pursuit of justice.

Pope Francis arrives to pray for war victims at 'Hosh al-Bieaa', Church Square, in Mosul's Old City, Iraq, March 7, 2021. REUTERS/Khalid al-Mousily

“It is time to look into justice, time to raise the voices of the victims," he said. "We have heard a lot about the perpetrators and the criminals but where are the victims? Their voices are now rising.

“This is the first time that I feel the voices of Mosul are heard and have been told by the people. This part of history should not be forgotten. We are making this about justice.”

The podcast series, called Mosul and the Islamic State: Justice and the Future of Mosul, reveals the untold stories from inside ISIS’s reign of terror, the pursuit of justice in its aftermath and the enduring struggle of Mosul's citizens for a brighter future.

Haroro Ingram, who wrote the podcasts, said they cover views from the streets of Mosul, the inside workings of ISIS, the standpoint of the generals and the Iraqi government, as well as the story of Omar.

“There are very real reasons to be optimistic about Mosul’s future,” he said.

Former CIA chief, Gen David Petraeus, who led US forces into Iraq, applauded Mr Mohammed for reporting from behind the lines.

“It was the best set of insight into what was going on,” he said.

Gen Petraeus said he was confident the recently besieged city would now thrive.

“As long as the people of Mosul are not interfered with by outside extremist groups and outside political elements, I’m confident the city will come back together,” he said. “That city is unique.”

Updated: July 22nd 2021, 9:31 AM
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