ICMP supports Iraqi authorities in uncovering mass grave near Badoush Prison linked to 2014 Da’esh crimes

March 19, 2020 – The International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) is supporting Iraq’s National Team in fieldwork to locate and recover human remains and to document criminal evidence from a mass grave near the Badoush prison.

Forensic work at the site, where Da’esh allegedly massacred hundreds of prisoners in 2014, began 7 March. Experts from Iraq’s Mass Graves Directorate and Medico-Legal Directorate, supported by ICMP, mapped the area and recovered human remains of the site. The team suspended its work on 16 March following the Iraqi government’s decision to restrict movement to prevent the spread of the Corona virus. The site – a shallow ravine- is being safeguarded, and forensic work, including excavations, will resume when the situation allows.

“It is a complex site because the human remains are dispersed over a large area, but the work was going well until it had to be halted due to Covid-19,” said Caroline Barker, head of ICMP’s Archeology and Anthropology Division, who was at the site in Iraq. “The start of this fieldwork is an important step for Iraq that could bring answers to many families who suspect that their missing relatives are among the victims.”

ICMP also is supporting Iraqi authorities’ efforts to reach out to surviving families of the victims to collect data, including reference samples for genetic testing to help identify the mortal remains found in the mass grave.

ICMP began working with Iraqi institutions in 2005. It established an office in Baghdad in 2008 and in Erbil in 2010. ICMP’s goal is to assist Iraq in creating a sustainable process to locate all missing persons, regardless of the period of disappearance, the circumstances, or the national/sectarian origin of the missing persons and to secure the rights of all surviving families to truth, justice and reparations. ICMP is also helping Iraq create purpose specific institutions and legislation that are key to a sustainable process.

ICMP is a treaty-based international organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.

ICMP’s work in Iraq is supported by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

ICMP is a treaty-based international organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, irregular migration and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.