202 mass graves containing the corpses of thousands of ISIS victims found in Iraq
More than 200 graves containing the corpses of thousands of victims have been discovered in areas formerly controlled by ISIS in Iraq, a UN report said.
The report by the UN Human Rights Office and the UN Assistance Mission documented the existence of 202 mass grave sites in the northern and western Iraqi governorates of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din and Anbar.
The dead include women, children, the elderly and disabled, as well as members of Iraq’s armed forces and police, the report said.
These deaths occurred in what the United Nations has called a systematic and widespread campaign of terror, “which may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide”.
It may be difficult to specify the exact number of people in the graves, with the smallest site in west Mosul believed to contain eight bodies while the biggest in the Khasfa sinkhole south of Mosul is believed to contain thousands of corpses.
The UN has said previously that almost 33,000 civilians were murdered by the terror group in Iraq, with more than 55,000 injured.
The report notes that the sites could provide critical forensic material that can lead to the identification of victims and help understand the scale of crimes committed by ISIS.
The report also describes how families of those who went missing continue to face challenges in establishing the fate of their loved ones.
“These graves contain the remains of those mercilessly killed for not conforming to ISIS’s twisted ideology and rule, including ethnic and religious minorities,” the report states.
“Their families have the right to know what happened to their loved ones. Truth, justice and reparations are critical to ensuring a full reckoning for the atrocities committed by ISIS.”