An Iraqi officer on the site of an alleged mass grave containing the remains of the ISIS group, November 18, 2016 near Mosul (north) / AFP / Archives
More than 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 bodies were unearthed in several Iraqi provinces held between 2014 and 2017 by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, the UN said on Tuesday, saying it "could to have many more ".
In their report, the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq and the UN Human Rights Office also call on the Iraqi authorities to preserve these sites in order to extract evidence of jihadist crimes and provide answers to families. missing.
Of these mass graves discovered in the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk and Salaheddin in northern Iraq, as well as in al-Anbar, in the west, only 28 were searched and 1,258 bodies exhumed by the Iraqi authorities, indicates UN.
Others contain a few bodies or up to several thousand. This is most likely the case of a natural cavity south of Mosul, the former "capital" of ISIS in northern Iraq, nicknamed "Khasfa" (the abyss, in Arabic) where locals tell that the jihadists executed dozens of Iraqis every day, including members of the security forces.
Nearly a year after Baghdad announced its "victory" over ISIS, "the evidence gathered on these sites will be central," the report says, calling for preserving these places and carrying out exhumations in the rules. .
Only these elements, he continues, can "guarantee credible investigations, trials and convictions in accordance with international standards", as UN investigators have begun to gather evidence in Iraq.
For, says the report, for three years, the jihadists perpetrated "systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law – acts that may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and a possible genocide ".
In addition, said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, if "the horrible crimes of ISIS in Iraq are no longer headlines, the trauma of the families of victims still exists and the the fate of thousands of women, men and children is still unknown. "
"Determining the circumstances of these many deaths will be an important step in the family's grieving process and in the process of securing their rights to truth and justice," said the UN Special Representative in Iraq, Jan Kubis.
According to the report, families of the missing have to go to five different administrations, "a time-consuming and frustrating process for traumatized families".