MOSUL, Iraq, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Amnesty International has accused "fighters wearing Iraqi Federal Police uniforms" of torture and extrajudicial killings.
The human rights group said it "crucial" for Iraqi authorities to investigate incidents in villages west and south of Mosul in which up to six people were "extrajudicially executed in late October, apparently due to suspicions they had ties to" the Islamic State.
Amnesty International did not directly accuse Iraqi Federal Police of the extrajudicial killings and torture in Mosul's al-Shura and al-Qayyara sub-districts -- identifying the accused repeatedly as "men wearing Federal Police uniforms" -- but has a called on authorities in Iraq to carry out "prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigations."
The allegations were made after Iraqi security forces, with the aid of the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shiite militias and a U.S.-led international coalition, began an offensive to re-capture Mosul from the Islamic State.
"Men in Federal Police uniform have carried out multiple unlawful killings, apprehending and then deliberately killing in cold blood residents in villages south of Mosul. In some cases the residents were tortured before they were shot dead execution-style," Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for research at Amnesty International's Beirut Regional Office, said in a statement released Thursday. "Deliberately killing captives and other defenseless individuals is prohibited by international humanitarian law and is a war crime ... Without effective measures to suppress and punish serious violations, there is a real risk that we could see war crimes of this kind repeated in other Iraqi villages and towns during the Mosul offensive."
Through a statement on Facebook, Iraqi federal police on Thursday dismissed the human rights group's report, Rudaw reports.
"The Iraqi federal police rejects a report by Amnesty International on our forces having committed crimes against a number of civilians in the region of Shura or elsewhere," the statement said. "The federal police command stresses its full commitment to the instructions of the commander in chief and the joint command on values and principles of humanity in protecting civilians and their properties and affording them all assistance during the operations of liberation south of Mosul."