08/04/2020 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – Nineveh’s former operations commander, Lieutenant General Mahdi al-Gharawi, was released from prison on Saturday according to Iraq’s state media. He is one of the security officials responsible for the fall of Mosul to ISIS in 2014. His release, though temporary, came just days before the official recognition of ISIS’s genocide against religious minorities.
Many have called for Iraq to hold military officials accountable whose actions enabled ISIS to quickly capture the Nineveh Governorate. These officials can be found within both the Central Government and Kurdish Regional Government, although both accuse the other of having the more egregious violations, a consequence of Nineveh’s disputed territory status.
In al-Gharawi’s case, his posting to Mosul was filled with controversy long before the rise of ISIS. His reputation includes serious charges that involved inciting sectarianism, and he has record of gross human rights violations dating back to the early 2000s. He escaped prosecution only because of a loophole, and was afterwards given a posting in Mosul. While there, his human rights abuses continued. At the time, several argued that al-Gharawi’s posting in Nineveh was an insult towards religious minorities, leaving already vulnerable societies to deal with a security leader who had serious sectarian issues.
His latest release from prison is technically not the end of the latest judicial intrigue which follows al-Gharawi. But it does touch upon a raw point for many of ISIS’s victims: Iraqi law is unreliable. And if the law is unreliable, how can the victims of ISIS be confident that they will receive protection in the future?
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