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In dealing with ISIS, Ninawa tribes uphold Iraqi law

By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad

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Ninawa residents have placed their trust in the Iraqi judiciary to resolve disputes with ISIS elements, according to the May issue of Al-Qadhaa magazine. In the photo is the Federal Appeals Court presidency building in Ninawa. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council]

Ninawa tribes and residents who were wronged by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) have exercised restraint since the group's ouster and have refrained from taking the law into their own hands, Iraqi officials said.

They have deferred to the Iraqi judiciary to ensure justice is served to the perpetrators of various terror crimes, and have not resorted to tribal customs to resolve disputes stemming from the ISIS era, they said.

Speaking to Al-Qadhaa magazine in May, Ninawa Criminal Court head Judge Uday Abdel Hakim noted that no lawsuits involving tribal crimes have been filed with the court since the province's liberation from ISIS.

He attributed this to the respect Ninawa residents have for the law, and their understanding that the issue of holding ISIS elements and their families to account for their crimes is the responsibility of the Iraqi judiciary.

The Iraqi judiciary has in turn succeeded in fulfilling its role in bringing ISIS elements in Ninawa to justice to the extent that province residents are not considering any course of action outside the law, said Sheikh Khaled al-Jubouri.

Al-Jubouri, who heads Ninawa's al-Jubour tribe and also serves as a tribal mobilisation forces commander, said it is true there are many vendettas between Ninawa residents and ISIS families and those who sheltered them.

But local residents, including those of tribal villages, "have decided to resort to the law" in dealing with these people, he told Diyaruna.

"The judiciary has already avenged the victims and issued many deterrent sentences, including death and life imprisonment sentences, against those convicted of terrorism," he said.

Upholding the rule of law

Al-Jubouri said the situation in Ninawa is very different than it is in Baghdad and southern provinces, which are unfortunately witnessing many tribal conflicts.

"The [Ninawa] tribes have not only adhered to the law but also played a positive role in unifying the ranks and fostering national cohesion," said Sheikh Nazhan al-Lahibi, a tribal mobilisation forces leader in southern Mosul.

"All tribes and components are respected in the province and they must [in turn] respect the rule of law", he told Diyaruna.

Tribes who choose to take the law into their own hands can damage the entire community by spreading a culture of lawlessness within Iraqi society, said civil society activist Khaled al-Qaraghuli.

In the southern province of Basra, some tribes have aligned themselves "with militias and political gangs whose sole occupation is conflict and the destruction of cities", he told Diyaruna.

He called on Iraqi citizens to refrain from pursuing extrajudicial punishment for perpetrators of crimes or from resorting to tribal justice in pursuing their rights and resolving disputes between members of the same community.

Al-Qaraghuli also urged tribal leaders to work harder to encourage their members to adhere to civil law "because it is the arbiter to resolving conflicts in society".

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Those are mentioned -- Nazhan and Qarghuli, and they were in Mosul at the time of ISIS. What I mean is that they welcomed ISIS, and therefore, they have no right to speak for honest people and families of victims.

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Those are mentioned -- Nazhan and Qarghuli, and they were in Mosul at the time of ISIS. What I mean is that they welcomed ISIS, and therefore, they have no right to speak for honest people and families of victims.

Reply