Forensic investigation of two Christian and Muslim mass graves skeletal remains in Sorya, Duhok governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan

  • Yasin K. Amin Medical Research Center, Hawler Medical University, Erbil, Iraq.
  • Goran Qader Othman Department of Medical Lab. Technology, Health Technical College, Erbil, Iraq.
Keywords: Mass graves, Christian victims, Sorya village, Anthropological identification

Abstract

Background and objective: This study aimed to investigate two mass graves located in Sorya village, Duhok governorate-Iraqi Kurdistan region.

Methods: The investigation included excavation of the graves and identification of the victims. The field study was started after taking testimonies and witnesses for locating the site of graves. Two sites were described (Site 001 and site 002), which were excavated according to the scientific standard procedures. Sex determination, age, and stature estimation were performed on the remained skeletons in the medico-legal institute-Erbil laboratory.

Results: Site 001 included 14 bodies, two of them were males and five were females, whereas the others were not identified because of degradations happens to the bones. Site 002 included 25 bodies, which were Christians according to witnesses and supported by evidence. Four victims appeared to be males, 14 were females, and 7 could not be identified. The results of age estimation reported that the number of young bodies in site 001 was five bodies, which represent 35.7% of them all, while 13 out of 25 were young bodies in site 002, which produced 52% of all victims. All the remained bones were recorded in detail for more documentation.

Conclusion: This finding described the exhumation and anthropological evaluation of two mass graves in Sorya– Duhok governorate Iraqi Kurdistan region. The majority of the victims were females and contain Christian and Muslims people.

References

Stover E, Haglund WD, Samuels M. Exhumation of mass graves in Iraq: considerations for forensic investigations, humanitarian needs, and the demands of justice. JAMA 2003; 290(5):663–6.

State UDo. Iraq human rights report. In. USA: US State Government; 2015.

Groen WM, Márquez-Grant N, Janaway R. Forensic archaeology: a global perspective: John Wiley & Sons; 2015.

Khogir W, Linda F. The Christians Perceptions of Reconciliation and Conflict. Middle East Research Institute 2017: 5.

"Iraqi Christians' long history". BBC. 13 March 2008. (Accessed October 31, 2010, at https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-11669994).

Juhl K. The contribution by (forensic) archaeologists to human rights investigations of mass graves: Museum of archaeology, Stavanger, Norway; 2005.

McKinley JI. Compiling a skeletal inventory: cremated human bone. Updated Guidelines to the Standards for Recording Human Remains 2004:14.

Cox M. Ageing adults from the skeleton. Human osteology in archaeology and forensic science. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 2000. P. 61–82.

Mays S. Sex determination in skeletal remains. Human Osteology in Archeology and Forensic Science. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 2000. P. 117–30.

De Mendonca M. Estimation of height from the length of long bones in a Portuguese adult population. American Journal of Physical Anthropology: The Official Publication of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists 2000; 112(1):39–48.

Komar DA, Buikstra JE. Forensic anthropology: contemporary theory and practice. New York: Oxford university press; 2008.

Published
2020-08-30
How to Cite
Amin, Y., & Othman, G. (2020). Forensic investigation of two Christian and Muslim mass graves skeletal remains in Sorya, Duhok governorate, Iraqi Kurdistan. Zanco Journal of Medical Sciences (Zanco J Med Sci), 24(2), 160-165. https://doi.org/10.15218/zjms.2020.019
Section
Original Articles