Five bodies found in mass grave in Erbil
There are evidences of torture on the bodies. Three of them shot dead in the head. The Iraqi government has to financially and psychologically in future compensate the families of the victims. Official sources from the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs announced on Monday June 3 in Erbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq, excavating the remains of a mass grave, including five bodies, in a cemetery known as “Asphalt Plant”. The date of killing the victims goes back to end of the 80s of the last century.
The KRG’s Minister of Martyrs, Aram Ahmed, told Kurdish media outlets that: “Five remains out of six have so far found. There are evidences that they were executed by the Iraqi former regime’s North Security Office in Erbil. There are also indications that they were tortured before shot to death and being executed. The remains go back to 1988.”
The victims had been identified, the minister said, by their clothes and the bodies will be sent to forensic institution to take sample from their buns and DNA.
“Out of the five bodies, three were shot dead in the head. The excavating team will continue seeking more remains.”
The remains were found after two days of nonstop working in a drilling operation launched by a joint team which included the Iraqi Federal Ministry of Human Rights, the KRG’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs as well as the Federal and Regional Ministries of Health. The initiated drilling process supervised by the International Committee on Missing Persons (ICMP).
The process of digging out the mass graves and identifying the victims, might take decades and it is because of its scope and difficult terrain that includes landmines and unexploded ordinance, requires a highly experienced personnel that does not exist in Iraq.
The bodies are believed to be the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan’s (PUK) members. Son of one of the victims said that the families of the dead people informed the ministry about the grave. He added that they knew of the grave since a long time and they uncovered it in 1992 but they could not identify the bodies.
It is expected that the mass grave will be registered in Iraq’s Supreme Court as one of the crimes committed by the Iraqi former regime against the Kurdish people.
“Uncovering such mass graves is internationally very significant. The government has to struggle to recognize such crimes in the international institutions in order not to be repeated once again,” the Minister said.
Parwin Nuri, a member of the joint team, said that on the first day of initiating the drilling process the team found some evidences that there might be more mass graves nearby.
A member of the team, which was from the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights, said that the families of the victims have to be financially and psychologically compensated.
A PUK official in Erbil said that the victims were his party’s members and they were in charge of organizing the PUK’s political secret activities at that time. He said the bodies belong to each ““Mohsen al-Khayat, Mohammed Jawhar , Nourddine , Tahsin Darkala and Hassan Abu Shwareb.”
The Iraqi former brutal regime was accused of murdering hundreds of thousand Iraqis, especially the Kurds and Shiites, during its rule, lasting for approximately three consecutive decades. Many of whom were buried in mass graves, while, part of them have so far not found.
Saddam Hussein’s regime launched eight brutal campaigns under the name of “Anfal” against the Kurdish people. It begun in 1987 and ended in 1988. The number of the people murdered in the campaigns is estimated to be around 180,000. The regime also destructed about 3,000 Kurdish villages during the campaign. More than ten thousands of people displaced from their houses too.
Two members of the joint Iraqi and Kurdish team from the Ministeries of Human Rights uncover a mass grave, which included five bodies of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) members killed by the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in the 80s of the last century, in Erbil, capital of the autonomous Kurdistan Region on Tuesday June 4.