Forensic Investigations of Mass Grave KAR0008, Karbala Province, Iraq
Author(s): Michael K. Trimble
Karbala 0008 (KAR0008) designates a mass grave located approximately 27 kilometers southwest of the city of Karbala in Karbala Province, Iraq.
In 2003, the Human Rights Watch Society, Karbala reported that individuals had been shot and buried in berms at the site location. The Inforce Foundation performed reconnaissance on 24-26 June 2003 (site code TAT03) and reported no evidence of a grave. On 3 August 2003, the I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) Mass Gravesite Assessment Team, Task Force Justice, investigated and designated the site as Level 4 (crimes against humanity – over 100 remains). The I MEF recommended the site for excavation.
The Regime Crimes Liaison Office Mass Graves Investigation Team (RCLO/MGIT) fully exhumed the grave over the course of five days and transported the 29 individuals it contained to the Forensic Analysis Facility (FAF) for analysis. Based on combined field and laboratory results, at least 17 individuals were blindfolded. While ligatures were only found with 18 of the 29 individuals, 26 of the bodies were found with their hands situated behind their backs in a manner consistent with being bound.
Results indicated that the individuals were all male or probably male, and their ages at death ranged from young adulthood (approximately 19 years) to over 60 years. The mean age was 34. Thirteen individuals (44.8 percent) were under 30 years of age, and two were over 60. All individuals exhibited gunshot trauma, with the minimum being five and the maximum being 21. Seventeen (58.6 percent) individuals sustained ten or more gunshot injuries. A plurality of all gunshot trauma was to the torso.
The Cultural Objects Laboratory analyzed articles of clothing and other personal effects from KAR0008. All individuals wore male outer clothing. Twenty-one individuals wore dish dashas, and the remaining eight individuals wore pants and shirts.
This Resource is Part of the Following Collections
Cite this Record
Forensic Investigations of Mass Grave KAR0008, Karbala Province, Iraq. Michael K. Trimble, David Z.C. Hines, Mark A. Smith, Nancy J. Brighton. Mass Graves Investigations ,Vol. 5. St. Louis, MO: US Army Corps of Engineers Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections, St. Louis District. 2006 ( tDAR id: 413683) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8T72KM8
min long: 43.116; min lat: 31.943 ; max long: 44.193; max lat: 32.806 ;
Individual & Institutional Roles
Landowner(s): Karbala, Karbala Province, Iraq
Task Order No.(s): 4
Contract No. (s): W912ER-04-D-0007
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