The U.N. Human Rights Council said Monday it will send a team to Iraq to investigate crimes by the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS. The announcement came after the group called an emergency meeting to debate whether it was possible to send a team into Iraq. The investigation, led by the U.S. and the U.N., will cost $1.2 million.
The Iraqi government requested the U.N. conduct the fact-finding mission. The request was included in a resolution that condemns ISIS crimes more broadly, but also includes its responsibility to protect the people of Iraq.
Several human rights organizations, including the U.N. human rights body and Human Rights Watch, have condemned ISIS for its brutality. In June, HRW released a report that included photos and satellite images from an apparent execution site where ISIS had killed more than 170 people. Last week, ISIS released a video purportedly showing the execution of more than 200 Syrian soldiers who had been kidnapped near Tabqa airbase, which the rebels took from the Syrian military Aug. 24.
The U.N. released a report last week on the human rights situation in Syria, which accused ISIS of using towns just north of Aleppo as training bases and recruiting child soldiers, a war crime under international law. The report said that ISIS “systematically provides weapons and training for children.”
The decision to send a team of human rights investigators into Iraq comes as President Obama is working with the National Security Council and other western leaders to develop an international coalition to fight ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Obama Monday sent an official notification to Congress he had authorized airstrikes and humanitarian airdrops in Iraq. The notification is required by law and is a formality.