More Mass Graves Found in Iraq

More evidence of mass murder under the Ba'ath Party regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq came to light as a number of mass graves were discovered near the southern Iraqi cities of Samawa and Nasiriya. Many of the victims were Kurds.

The New York Times reports:
BAGHDAD, Iraq, April 14 - Investigators have discovered several mass graves in southern Iraq that are believed to contain the bodies of people killed by Saddam Hussein's government, including one estimated to hold 5,000 bodies, Iraqi officials say.

The graves, discovered over the past three months, have not yet been dug up because of the risks posed by the continuing insurgency and the lack of qualified forensic workers, said Bakhtiar Amin, Iraq's interim human rights minister. But initial excavations have substantiated the accounts of witnesses to a number of massacres. If the estimated body counts prove correct, the new graves would be among the largest in the grim tally of mass killings that have gradually come to light since the fall of Mr. Hussein's government two years ago. At least 290 grave sites containing the remains of some 300,000 people have been found since the American invasion two years ago, Iraqi officials say.

Forensic evidence from some graves will feature prominently in the trials of Mr. Hussein and the leaders of his government. The trials are to start this spring.

One of the graves, near Basra, in the south, appears to contain about 5,000 bodies of Iraqi soldiers who joined a failed uprising against Mr. Hussein's government after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. Another, near Samawa, is believed to contain the bodies of 2,000 members of the Kurdish clad led by Massoud Barzani.

As many as 8,000 men and boys from the clan disappeared in 1983 ...

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