Ari Jalal / Reuters
Investigators have found 202 mass graves in Iraq, a cruel reminder of the terrorist control of the Islamic State across much of the country, according to a new report by the United Nations Human Rights Office. The agency says at least 6,000 people have been buried at the sites – and possibly more than 12,000.
"Victims include women, children, the elderly and the disabled, members and former members of the Iraqi armed forces and police, as well as some foreign workers," the report said, "Curbing atrocities".
Scattered in the north and west of Iraq, the tombs recall the shocking cruelty, violence and disregard of human life in the dark period from 2014 to 2017 by the Islamic State. The graves are also a major logistical and investigative challenge for the Iraqi authorities who want answers for families who have lost relatives.
So far, Iraq has dug up 28 mass graves, the US report reported, adding that the remains of 1,258 bodies were recovered from these sites.
"Families of the countless victims who have perished through ISIL have a right to know what happened to their loved ones," said Suki Nagra, human rights director of the United Nations Mission in Iraq. "The mass graves documented in our report bear witness to profound suffering and shocking cruelty, and must be protected and treated as crime scenes, with evidence of prosecution preserved."
Some of the mass graves contain fewer than 10 bodies. Others, on the other hand, hold much more – especially in Mosul and the Nineveh province, where the Islamic State was in power until 2017. In a hole south of Mosul, investigators estimate that 4,000 people were killed and buried, according to the report.
The UN believes that around 30,000 people were killed during the reign of the Islamic State over large parts of Iraq. A number he warns is "an absolute minimum".
There are evidences in the mass graves of acts "that may present war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide," the report said. The UN.N. also presented its recommendations for preserving this evidence and facilitating the identification and recovery process for families.
The killings were part of an IS plan as his gunmen used the most brutal methods to separate parts of Iraq from Baghdad's central control. Police and military personnel were targeted; They were also the Yazidis and other religious minorities who died in their thousands, says the UN.N.
In a notorious example, the report states: "On June 12, 2014, ISIL killed some 1,700 members of the Iraqi security forces and army cadets at the site of the former presidential palace of Saddam Hussein in Tikrit, as" camp memory massacres. & # 39; "
The extremist group established replacement police and courts and condemned people at wholesale level. Executions were often conducted in public to increase the impact on Iraqi citizens. Death came in different ways: the report lists "shooting, beheading, bulldozing, living burning and throwing people off the top of buildings".
Despite the amazing loss of life, the US national team reminds us that the mass graves do not show the whole picture of what the Iraqis have lost.
"Cases of killings in which remains were discovered in homes and elsewhere and were not buried later are not included in the mass grave report," the agency said.
While the investigators are finding the remains of people who have suffered at the hands of the Islamic State, other mass graves originating from the reign of Saddam Hussein are still being discovered. The dictator ordered that tens of thousands of people be killed and buried as he tried to quell any attempt to challenge him.