Human Rights Watch published a report on March 6, 2019 titled, Everyone Must Confess The report has mentioned that the Kurdistan Regional Government is torturing children to confess their involvement with the ISIS. In the past, HRW has published several reports regarding KRG relevant department’s treatment of ISIS detainees including the children.
The KRG reiterates that inappropriate treatment such as torture towards detainees and especially children and juveniles on behalf of the police departments and other security departments are not permissible or tolerable under any circumstances. Inappropriate actions have been utterly terminated by the KRG and several regulations have been issued in this regard. If such treatment is perceived to have taken place, it is immediately followed upon and immediate action is taken according to the applicable laws punishing anyone who is guilty of ill-treating the detainees.
In response to HRW’s report, Dr. Dindar Zebari, KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy stated that the KRG security departments and the reformatory center in Erbil have not received any complaints of ill-treatment and torture from the ISIS child detainees. If there are, they will be duly followed up with and special committees be formed to investigate into the cases. The detainees have confessed of their affiliation with ISIS under no pressure of any type by the authorities.
If the suspect has been tortured by the police or other security officials, it is necessary for him/her to reveal this during investigation and it is necessary for them to say this during their statement to the investigating judge. If the investigating judge acknowledges that the criminal has been pressured and ill-treated, he will take the necessary actions to acquire their rights by obtaining evidence and witnesses to the actions.
Investigation is not to be withheld in the detention and transfer police stations; however, it is withheld in the offices of crime prevention. In exceptional cases where the detainee’s life is threatened, investigation takes place in the police station with the presence of the investigating judge for the safety of the arrested individual.
Regarding the general arrest procedures in place, KRG security forces have carried out specific procedures since the ISIS war began when arresting ISIS members. A screening process commenced upon the arrival of the displaced persons to the frontlines to prevent ISIS affiliates from infiltrating the region. The KRG forces have considered traditional values and customs in that they do not screen the women but only men. They have notified the family members of ISIS members and affiliates of their arrest, the right to see their families, and the right to an attorney. They are later transferred to reception centers where they are provided with essential aid and services.
Additionally, there is a clearly defined arrest procedure by which individuals are brought into custody. This arrest procedure is initiated through intelligence and information gathered by or relayed to the Asayish regarding an individual who poses a security threat. The information is subsequently relayed to a judge who chooses whether or not to issue an arrest warrant for that designated individual or individuals. If the court decides to issue an arrest warrant, the Asayish security forces are then permitted to conduct the arrest.
Dr. Zebari said that the KRG is transparent in its treatment of the detainees and the management of the detention centers. It has granted access to many international organizations to see the detainees. To this day, many international organizations
Any internal security forces perpetrator guilty of tormenting, with the presence of evidence and filed complaints from the tormented, will be penalized according to the law. For example, according to the Ministry of Interior letter (No. 1368 of 8-7-2014) requested the formation of an investigation committee to inspect the cases of 7 detainees who had claimed to have been tortured; herby investigation committee was formed according to letter (No.1659 of 20-8-2014) of Erbil Police Directorate.
Long trial process is due to the set legislative procedures that the investigators take in the police department and the criminal prevention offices. However, it is the investigating judge who is responsible for convicting the person who is guilty of crime. It is also the investigator’s duty to complete investigation file in the designated time.
PUKmedia / Media office of the coordinator of international recommendations in the KRG