Crimes Against Humanity: Iraq’s Mass Graves

by Project Censored
Published: Updated:

On October 22, 2012, Shafaq, an Iraqi News Agency, reports: ‘An official security source revealed on Monday that a mass grave was found in Sada area on the outskirts of Sadr City, belonging to the staff of the Department of Missions of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research who disappeared in 2006. The available intelligence reports that the bodies, sixteen of them, belong to employees of the Department of Missions who were abducted in 2006 and buried in a mass grave. The competent authorities are conducting DNA tests on the bodies to make sure of their identities and inform their families.’
On Tuesday, November 14, 2006, paramilitary gunmen in the uniforms of Iraqi National Police commandos raided a building belonging to the Ministry of Education in Baghdad’s Karrada district and arrested around one hundred members of staff from two departments and around fifty visitors, according to lists compiled by the Minister of Education. The raid took place in broad daylight, one kilometer from the Green Zone, in an area that contained several high-security compounds, including the department where passports are issued. The paramilitary force estimated at between at least fifty and one hundred arrived in a fleet of some twenty to thirty camouflage pickup trucks of the kind employed by the Interior Ministry and rapidly established a cordon of the area. They stated that they were from an anti-corruption unit and were carrying out arrests ahead of a visit by the US ambassador. The paramilitaries made their arrests according to lists, confirming the identities of those present by their ID cards, then handcuffed and blindfolded the detainees and put them into the backs of pickups and into two larger vehicles.
The Iraqi government quickly declared that the number of detainees was far lower (18 guards, 16 members of staff and five visitors) and by Wednesday claimed that all of the detainees had been released after a series of dramatic police raids. By Thursday, the Education Minister stated that around seventy of 150 detainees had been released and reported that some of those released had been tortured and that there were allegations that others had been killed. On Friday, November 17, 2006, Mowaffak Rubias, the National Security Advisor, stated all of the detainees had been released.
After a thorough search for this story in mass media, not one major newspaper or editorial mentioned what was found in Iraq. A more thorough investigation is needed to sort out what exactly took place in November 2006 and how many detainees were released following the arrests. Clearly, not all of the detainees were released and for those that ended up in a mass grave, they deserve a proper investigation into how they ended up there.

Title: Crimes Against Humanity: Iraq’s Mass Graves
Author: Dirk Adriaensens 
Source:, October 23, 2012
Student Researcher: Evan Jefferies, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth, Sonoma State University