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News ::
Forensic Expert Shows Evidence of Iraqi Atrocities (english)
02 Mar 2003
American forensic anthropologist Dr Clyde Snow told the UN Commission on Human Rights of his reports showing that 100,000 to 200,000 Kurds have disappeared and are believed murdered by Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime.

(Up to 200,000 Kurds believed tortured, killed) (600) By Robin Newmann USIA European Correspondent Geneva -- American forensic anthropologist Dr. Clyde Snow says he has reports which reveal that 100,000 to 200,000 Kurds have disappeared and are believed murdered by Saddam Hussein's regime.

Snow told the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) in Geneva March 4 that while the reports, provided by the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, are initial estimates and may be overly high, he nonetheless saw many razed villages during two recent trips to Kurdistan to examine mass graves; some 4,000 villages reportedly were destroyed by Iraqi forces.

"As you go through these areas, you see villages that to me look like archaeological sites, and personally I saw dozens of those during the time I was there," he said.

Dr. Snow is an internationally recognized expert on identifying and determining the cause of death of human skeletal remains. He visited Kurdistan for the first time last December to examine mass graves containing the bodies of Kurds allegedly ordered killed by Saddam Hussein. He made a second trip to the region February 14-21 and started exhuming the remains of 28 young men shot by firing squad outside their village, which was later razed by Iraqi forces.

Snow presented the UNCHR with photographic evidence and documents of summary executions, torture and other acts believed committed by Iraq's security forces against the Kurds since the late 1980s.

One slide showed a skull with three bullet holes in it, with a blindfold "still in place around the eyes," Snow explained. He noted that the photograph had been taken at a grave site at Irbil, in northern Iraq, where eyewitnesses said 19 young men had been executed at random by Iraqi troops after an aborted attempt to kill an Iraqi official.

Another slide showed a large municipal graveyard in the area of Suleimaniyah, also in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, where witnesses said people were tortured, killed and buried. Snow said he had examined the remains of two men with gunshot wounds to the back of the head, and a woman who had been "strangled to death."

Near a former Iraqi military base outside Suleimaniyah, Snow said he had examined Kurds and Iranians who had been executed by Iraqi forces.

According to local accounts, Snow said, some of the Iranian prisoners executed carried documents which identified them. They were captured during the Iran-Iraq war, their wounds treated in an Iraqi hospital, and then, inexplicably, they were killed.

Snow also presented still photographs from an Iraqi video found in a former-Iraqi security forces headquarters. One photograph showed a bullet-ridden victim still attached to a post, and another revealed three Iraqi soldiers standing by a victim suspended from a post "showing off their kill."

"I've seen an awful lot in my life, but I don't think I've ever seen anything as horrible as this photograph," Snow said.

Lastly, Snow showed a series of slides of the "ex-village" of Khorome, located 80 kilometers south of the Turkish border. They included the snow-covered remains of the schoolhouse and other buildings in the village which had been razed by Iraqi forces in August 1988, and the mass grave of the 28 young men who had been rounded up and shot.

Snow said he planned to return to the area next summer to continue his work. He plans to check out accounts of mass deportations and executions of Kurds and Shi'as in southern Iraq.
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