Iraq: Seven years since Camp Speicher Massacre

Baghdad, 12 June 2021 – Seven years ago, Da’esh fighters executed an estimated 1,700 Iraqi air force recruits at Camp Speicher near Tikrit, 140 kilometres northwest of Baghdad. Speaking today, the Head of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) program in Iraq, Alexander Hug, said it was “essential to continue the efforts of the National Team, the Mass Graves Directorate (MGD) and the Medico-Legal Directorate of the Ministry of Health (MLD), together with ICMP to account for those who are still missing as a result of the massacre and to bring those who were responsible to justice.”

Since 2016 ICMP has provided operational support to Iraqi experts in addressing ISIS crimes, by safeguarding and excavating gravesites in Sinjar and mass graves in Tikrit, including the graves at Camp Speicher. This has included providing training, guidance, and onsite operational support for the multi-agency work at Camp Speicher. ICMP supported three phases of fieldwork by the National Team in 2016 and 2017, during which remains of 1,235 victims were recovered from multiple mass graves in Camp Speicher. ICMP has also provided training for forensic anthropologists working in the MLD. Examination and DNA analysis of human remains from Camp Speicher by the MLD in Baghdad has yielded 898 identifications so far.

ICMP is working with partners from the Government of Iraq to reach out to families of the missing, following an integrated approach to the excavations with the National Team and civil society organizations. ICMP convened a roundtable in Baghdad in March 2017 with families of those who went missing at Camp Speicher. This brought the largest number of families together with representatives from the National Team, enabling all stakeholders to discuss an integrated strategy.

ICMP is working with partners in Iraq to develop and implement an impartial approach to the issue of the missing and to foster collaboration among religious and national groups. It is also supporting efforts to establish a central record of missing persons and to facilitate dialogue between the government and families of the missing and civil society organizations.

ICMP’s program in Iraq is currently supported by Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

About ICMP

ICMP is a treaty-based intergovernmental 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, 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.

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