Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Extrajudicial Killings In Iraq’s Capital Remain Unchanged January 2015

Bodies being dumped in Baghdad’s neighborhoods have been a long time occurrence. In 2014 there was a huge surge in these extra judicial killings during the summer as the insurgents launched their offensive and there was widespread fear that they would reach the capital. Afterward the numbers gradually went down, and have since stabilized.

For the last four months there have been roughly the same number of bodies turning up in Baghdad. In October 2014, 43 bodies were discovered, followed by 46 in November, 42 in December, and 47 in January. That compared to the summer months when this phenomenon skyrocketed from 52 in June to 104 in July to 53 in August. The surge in July was due to the insurgent summer offensive. During that time there was a widespread belief that the militants would reach Baghdad after the sudden collapse in Mosul and Tikrit. That seemed to prompt militias to carry out a huge number of retaliatory attacks. After that threat subsided the figures began going down until reaching the current level.

Bodies Dumped In Baghdad 2014-2015

It’s impossible to tell who are the perpetrators of all of these deaths. In January for instance there were three stabbings, which could have been just regular crimes. On the other hand, there are many times when bodies are found handcuffed and tortured or multiple bodies are found that were likely the work of some armed faction. On January 28 for instance, a man’s body was found in the Ur neighborhood handcuffed, blindfolded, and shot in the head. Then on January 29 nine bodies were found in one location all shot in southeastern Baghdad. Another hint at who was responsible was the locations these bodies were found in. Many times where bodies were discovered were not where the murders were committed. At the same time, certain groups have a history of dumping their victims in specific areas dating back to the civil war period of 2005-2008. In January, 17 out of 34 bodies were found in eastern Baghdad in Shiite neighborhoods such as New Baghdad, which were probably the work of militias. On the other hand five bodies were found in the south in Dora, which could have been the work of insurgents. Ultimately, much of this was guess work, but it was undoubtedly true that armed groups from various factions were detaining people and killing them in the capital.

When the insurgency took off in 2014 many feared that the number of extrajudicial killings would sky rocket along with overall violence. That theory did not prove true as these types of murders declined after the summer. These incidents have now leveled off and will probably remain at the current level unless new fears emerge of an insurgent drive into the capital. Hopefully that won’t happen and these deaths might actually go down in the future.


Iraq Times, "Police found four bodies in different parts of Baghdad," 1/6/15

Al Mada, "Found the bodies of a man and a woman who were dumped, shot south of Baghdad," 1/10/15

Al Masalah, "Found 9 bodies and a woman died in Baghdad," 1/29/15

NINA, "A dead body found , western of Baghdad," 1/27/15
- "Two Bodies Found In Baghdad," 1/26/15
- "Unidentified Body Found East Of Baghdad," 1/11/15
- "Unidentified Body Found East of Baghdad," 1/22/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/4/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/4/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/5/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/7/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/13/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/15/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/19/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/19/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/21/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/25/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/25/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Baghdad," 1/28/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Central Baghdad," 1/29/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In East Of Baghdad," 1/28/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Eastern Baghdad," 1/13/15
- "Unidentified Body Found In Eastern Baghdad," 1/20/15
- "Unidentified Body Found Northeast Of Baghdad," 1/11/15
- "Unidentified Body Found Northeast Of Baghdad," 1/14/15
- "Unidentified Body Found South Of Baghdad," 1/12/15
- "Unidentified Body Found South of Baghdad," 1/12/15
- "Unidentified Body Found Southwest Of Baghdad," 1/20/15
- "An unidentified dead body found in eastern Baghdad," 1/12/15
- "An unidentified dead body found in eastern Baghdad," 1/13/15
- "An unidentified dead body, found northeast of Baghdad," 1/5/15
- "An unidentified dead body found south of Baghdad," 1/15/15

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