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Ex-Islamic State fighters face justice in Mosul

Iraq establishes a special court in Ninevah province to address a large number of terrorist cases related to former Islamic State fighters.
A man walks across a street in Qaraqosh, east of Mosul, Iraq November 25, 2016. Picture taken November 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic - RTSTT8A

In the Assyrian-Christian city of Hamdaniya, which its inhabitants call Qaraqosh, 30 kilometers (19 miles) southeast of Mosul, a big house belonging to a Muslim family temporarily hosts a terrorism court as part of the Iraqi Criminal Court, where provincial trials are held. In this beige and orange two-story villa, Iraqi judges listen to prisoners who are accused of being affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group and having committed crimes against humanity. At the end of October 2016, when the city was liberated by Iraqi forces, the same house was occupied by IS foreign fighters, which is the reason it is one of the few houses that is not damaged.

Aside from the trials of former IS fighters, weekdays from Sunday to Thursday, around 300 people gather in front of the doors of the villa. These individuals, who arrive at the same time as the IS fighters, are the victims of the three-year IS rule who seek justice. They reach Hamdaniya by private or public transportation from Mosul and its outskirts, or even from the camps for the displaced in Ninevah province, to report the violence they faced. They lost their homes, their cars and their personal possessions, and they bring pictures and documents as proof to show the judges. Many cry out for the disappearance of a family member, a killing and other brutal acts committed by IS in front of their eyes.

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