U.N. Backs Inquiry of IS Group’s Alleged Crimes

GENEVA (AP) -

The U.N.’s top human rights body on Monday overwhelmingly approved the Iraqi government’s request for an investigation into alleged crimes against civilians committed by the Islamic State group in its rampage across northeastern Syria and parts of Iraq.

Diplomats agreed by unanimous consent to approve a nearly $1.2 million U.N. fact-finding mission at a daylong special session of the 47-nation Human Rights Council about Iraq and the extremist group.

Iraq’s request for the U.N. to investigate alleged abuses by the IS was included in a resolution that more broadly condemns the group’s severe tactics but also calls on Iraq’s government to protect human rights.

Its aim is to provide the Geneva-based council with a report and evidence next March that could shed further light on Iraqi atrocities and be used as part of any international war crimes prosecution.

The session Monday focused on the threat posed by the terrorists, who have seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land and carried out a number of massacres and beheadings.

“We are facing a terrorist monster,” Iraq’s human rights minister, Mohammed Shia’ Al Sudani, said shortly before the vote.

Diplomats convened after the U.S. launched a series of airstrikes to prevent the group from advancing on the Kurdish regional capital of Irbil and to help protect members of the Yazidi minority who were stranded in Iraq’s northwest.