Bodies of 94 Ezidis exhumed from mass grave in Kocho village in Sinjar

By KRG, federal government teams
A man inspects a mass grave near the village of Sinuni, in the northwestern Sinjar area on February 03, 2015. AFP

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SULAIMANI — The bodies of 94 Ezidis killed by Islamic State (ISIS) militants have been recovered by a joint team of Iraqi and Kurdistan Regional Government specialists from a mass grave in Kocho village in Sinjar district.

The federal National Team for Uncovering the Mass Graves, in cooperation with the Kurdistan Region’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, has completed the third phase of exhuming a number of mass graves in Sinjar, the secretariat of the federal Council of Ministers announced on Monday (July 22).

Ninety-four bodies were uncovered during the latest phase.

Another mass grave was also exhumed outside the village in the Sabahia area of Sinjar district, according to the statement.

The teams are working closely with the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), led by British barrister Karim Asad Ahmad Khan.

The UN body was set up last year to collect and document forensic and legal evidence of ISIS’ crimes, preserving them for any future proceedings. Khan told the UN Security Council on July 15 that “significant progress” had been made during the first half of 2019.

The Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs in the Kurdistan Region has said there were 217 Ezidi mass graves in Sinjar, according to AFP.

In March, the first mass grave in Kocho was uncovered, which led to the recovery of 28 bodies. In May, UNITAD announced that the team had uncovered additional 12 mass graves.

So far, a total of 235 remains have been exhumed from 27 mass graves, the Council of Ministers' statement said.

Islamic State attacked Sinjar in early August 2014, killing and displacing thousands in an act of attempted genocide against the Ezidi religious minority. Many women and girls were abducted and raped before being sold into slavery, while men and boys were either murdered or taken as forced labor.

More than 3,000 Ezidis remain missing out of the over 6,000 who were abducted.

(NRT Digital Media)