Middle East

In August 2014, the United States coordinated its airpower with Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi Army ground forces to retake the highly fragile Mosul Dam in Iraq from the Islamic State, thereby respecting the heightened protections afforded to critical infrastructure under IHL and avoiding a potential humanitarian disaster.
Since 2019, Iraqi authorities, with the support of international organizations, have commenced efforts to exhume, identify and hand over to families the remains of those who died during the conflict between Da’esh/ISIL and Iraq.

The motivations behind such compliance with IHL may include bringing closure to the families, honouring the victims, responding to calls by civil society and activists, and contributing to peace and stability in Iraq. This case refers to events occurred in Sinjar from 2019 to 2020.
In compliance with the first agreement between them since the beginning of the conflict in Yemen, the Hadi government and the Houthis have released hundreds of detainees. These acts of compliance with IHL may have been a result of diplomatic efforts and international pressure; they may also have been influenced by both parties' interest in gaining credibility and improving their public image.
At the end of the 1990–1991 Gulf War, a tripartite commission was set up and mandated to ascertain the fate of people who had gone missing during the war. Iraq and Kuwait collaborated under the auspices of this commission and succeeded in locating, exhuming, and repatriating numerous sets of human remains. These reciprocal actions of compliance with IHL were enabled by such means as the mediation and support of external actors and the use of advanced technology.
During the invasion of the US-led coalition in Iraq in 2003, legal advisers reviewed operational decisions and targeting procedures with the purpose of ensuring compliance with IHL.
Following the signature of three Deeds of Commitment, members of organized armed groups, law-enforcement actors and representatives of the civil society attended a series of training sessions and dissemination programs on the enforcement of the obligations contained in these documents and more generally international humanitarian norms.
In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, the United States decided not to attack Iraqi aircraft positioned next to the World Heritage Site, Ziggurat at Ur due to the risk of damage. This action, which demonstrated respect for cultural property and the principles of distinction and proportionality, may have been influenced by the United States’ experiences during previous conflicts and the desire to maintain a positive public opinion.
Soldiers and commanders of different Kurdish armed groups received training on IHL from different actors. Subsequently, Kurdish authorities issued a new Decree and amended the existing normative framework in order to enforce the compliance with IHL and the protection of civilians.
In 2014, immediately after the commencement of liberating ISIS controlled areas, a Presidential Decree was issued in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq which instructed Peshmerga armed forces to comply with IHL. This was followed by consultations between IHL experts and the commanders, capacity building activities for 40 individuals to conduct IHL trainings within the armed forces, as well as the distribution of manuals on IHL for Peshmerga armed forces. In 2018, Peshmerga forces adopted their first code of conduct.