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Iraqi Lawmakers Call for Prime Minister Al-Maliki to Face Trial Over Fall of Mosul to ISIS

Iraq Maliki Middle East ISIS Islamic State
Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (C) talks to reporters during a visit to the newly restored Abu Nawas Road in Baghdad November 5, 2007. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

An Iraqi parliamentary committee on Sunday called for former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and dozens of officials to face trial for their role in the fall of the country's second-largest city, Mosul, to the Islamic State (ISIS) last year.

A report issued by the panel to the Iraqi parliamentary speaker, Salim al-Jubri, on Sunday held 36 officials responsible for the loss of the capital of Nineveh province, including al-Maliki, former Mosul governor Athil al-Nujaifi, former acting defence minister Sadun al-Dulaimi, former army chief Gen. Babakir Zebari and former deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi.

The report, seen by Reuters, called for the former Iraqi leader to stand trial and alleges that he weakened the protection of the city by selecting military commanders who were corrupt and failing to hold them to account.

"No one is above the law and accountability to the people," parliamentary speaker Saleem al-Jabouri said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. "The judiciary will punish perpetrators and delinquents."

The report's text is to be made public when it is read in a parliamentary session on Monday "to inform the Iraqi people of the truth," al-Jabouri added.

The parliamentary committee, set up by 24 Iraqi members of parliamnt from the country's various power blocs and led by head of the security and defence parliamentary committee Hakim al-Zamili, only has the power to make recommendations to the Iraqi judiciary, which will now examine the report's findings.

As the report was approved by a vote of 16 to 8 of the committee's members, the judiciary can now act against the named officials if there is enough evidence to proceed. As most of those named are military officials, they may be handed over to a military tribunal as opposed to the civil judiciary but it is unlikely that all 36 officials will be tried, experts say.

A Shia Muslim, al-Maliki is seen to have widened sectarian tensions with disaffected Sunni Muslims, who form the majority of Mosul's population and the security forces who were present in the city before its fall. A number of military commanders also reportedly testified to the panel that the former Iraqi leader had ordered the withdrawal of troops from military bases in the city.

The city was captured by ISIS on June 10 last year as they swept across northern Iraq and northeastern Syria. The fall of Mosul was accelerated when Iraqi forces in the city deserted their posts in the face of ISIS's offensive, leaving a large supply of arms in the hands of the terror group.

Al-Maliki acted as Iraq's prime minister from 2006 until August last year when he stepped aside to be replaced by Haider al-Abadi's coalition government after ISIS were able to gain a foothold in the country. He retained the position of vice-president but Abadi announced he is to abolish the role in cabinet reforms made last week.

The move to hold the former Iraqi leader responsible for the loss of Mosul comes as Abadi continues a drive against corruption and lapses in management. On Sunday, he sanctioned the referral of military commanders to a court martial for abandoning their posts in another major Iraqi city, Ramadi, which fell to the terror group in May.

The Iraqi leader also announced on Sunday that 11 posts out of 33 in his cabinet and four ministries, including human rights and women's affairs, would be removed in a bid to streamline his administration after weeks of protests against corruption.