Forces from both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan committed apparent war crimes in attacks on civilians during their brief but intense armed border conflict in September 2022. The families of victims deserve justice and reparations to pave the way for a rights-respecting resolution to this ongoing dispute.
The 20-page report, “Intense and Lasting Harm: Cluster Munition Attacks in Ukraine,” details how Russian armed forces have used at least six types of cluster munitions in the international armed conflict in Ukraine.
Syrian and Russian Strikes on Civilian Infrastructure
The 167-page report, “‘Targeting Life in Idlib’: Syrian and Russian Strikes on Civilian Infrastructure,” details abuses by Syrian and Russian armed forces during the 11-month military campaign to retake Idlib governorate and surrounding areas, among the last held by anti-government armed groups. The report examines the abusive military strategy in which the Syrian-Russian alliance repeatedly violated the laws of war against the 3 million civilians there, many displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country. It names 10 senior Syrian and Russian civilian and military officials who may be implicated in war crimes as a matter of command responsibility: they knew or should have known about the abuses and took no effective steps to stop them or punish those responsible.
This report documents attacks since 2016 by the Taliban and groups affiliated with the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of the Islamic State. While the Taliban claim they do not target civilians, the report documents indiscriminate attacks by the Taliban that have killed and injured thousands. ISKP-linked groups have targeted civilian facilities in urban areas of Afghanistan, including many Shia mosques. The report, based on interviews with 45 civilian victims of insurgent attacks and their relatives, highlights the lasting consequences of the attacks on affected families and communities.
Civilian Casualties in Anti-ISIS Coalition Airstrikes in Syria
This report documents coalition attacks in March on a school housing displaced families in Mansourah and a market and a bakery in Tabqa, towns west of the city of Raqqa. Human Rights Watch found that ISIS fighters were at these sites, but so were dozens, perhaps hundreds, of civilians. The coalition should conduct thorough, prompt, and impartial investigations of the attacks, do everything feasible to prevent similar attacks, and provide compensation or condolence payments to people who suffered losses due to the coalition’s operations, Human Rights Watch said.
The Syrian Government’s Widespread and Systematic Use of Chemical Weapons
This report identifies three different systems being used to deliver chemical weapons: government warplanes appear to have dropped bombs with nerve agents on at least four occasions since December 12; government helicopter-dropped chlorine-filled munitions have become more systematic; and government or pro-government ground forces have started using improvised ground-launched munitions filled with chlorine.
US Authorities’ Failure to Take Adequate Precautions
This report found that statements by US military authorities after the attack indicate that they failed to understand that the targeted building was a mosque, that prayer was about to begin, and that a religious lecture was taking place at the time of the attack. A proper analysis of the target and its use would probably have established at least some of these elements. Human Rights Watch has not found evidence to support the allegation that members of al-Qaeda or any other armed group were meeting in the mosque.
Iraqi Kurdish Forces' Destruction of Villages, Homes in Conflict with ISIS
This report looked at destruction of homes between September 2014 and May 2016 in disputed areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh governorates, areas nominally under Iraqi government jurisdiction but under Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) control. The destruction, which took place after KRG Peshmerga forces routed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters, targeted Arab homes while leaving Kurdish homes intact. KRG leaders have maintained that these are historically Kurdish areas that they intend to incorporate into the Kurdistan region.