To commemorate Mass Graves Day in Iraq, the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in collaboration with Bournemouth University presented a recently published protocol on mass grave investigation and protection to Iraqi authorities involved in efforts to account for missing persons.
In 2007, the Iraqi Council of Ministers designated 16 May as the National Day of Mass Graves to draw attention to the fate of individuals who were killed and disappeared during decades of conflict and human rights abuse and buried in mass graves. Iraqi authorities estimate that between 250.000 and 1 million persons have gone missing in the country.
To commemorate Mass Graves Day, ICMP presented to Iraqi stakeholders Arabic- and Kurdish-language copies of The Bournemouth Protocol on Mass Grave Protection and Investigation, a joint product of ICMP and Bournemouth University that defines legal and practical standards of the protection and investigation of mass graves. Recipients include the Mass Graves Directorate, the Ministry of Health’s Medico-Legal Directorate and the National Coordination Committee in Federal Iraq as well as the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs in the Kurdistan Region.
“Properly protecting and investigating mass graves are key steps in Iraq’s work to find the high number of missing persons and secure the rights of their families,” said Alexander Hug, head of ICMP’s Iraq Program. “The Bournemouth Protocol is an important tool that benefits the various Iraqi institutions involved in the missing persons process.”