Statement: Yazda welcomes and supports the exhumation of the Mass Graves in Kocho, Solagh-Sinjar

Updated: Oct 28, 2020

Yazda welcomes and supports the exhumation of the last Mass Grave in Kocho and the exhumation of Mass Graves in Solagh, Sinjar

23 October 2020

On 24 October 2020, the Iraqi authorities (the Directorate of Mass graves of the Martyrs Foundation ), in cooperation with the UN Investigative Team for Accountability of Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP), will continue the exhumation work started last year and excavate the last and 17th mass grave in the village of Kocho, Sinjar and will begin the exhumation of the mass grave in Solagh, containing the remains of Yazidi elderly women executed by ISIS.

Works are planned to last until mid-November and will result in the transportation of the remains to the mortuary of the Martyrs Foundation in Baghdad where the identification process will resume. The medico-legal team of the Martyrs Foundation will collect DNA samples of family members in the coming days. 

Yazda welcomes this milestone in the investigation of crimes committed by ISIS against the Yazidi minority in Iraq.

At 11.00am tomorrow, an official ceremony in Kocho will mark this occasion, gathering authorities, specialists and community, to remember and honour the many Yazidi who perished here. 

Yazda will accompany the Yazidi community during this difficult and crucial time and will deploy its team of Case Managers who conducted focal group discussions prior to the exhumation and who will provide emotional support on the day at our partner IOM’s tent.

Yazda Medical Mobile Unit will provide medical assistance to the community where needed and Yazda staff will remain available in the coming days at our Duhok, Senuni and Sinjar City offices to answer questions on the process as information is made available by authorities.

Yazda Documentation and media teams will film the official speeches, report on the ceremony and interview the authorities and partners, including the Iraqi Forensic Team and representatives of UNITAD and ICMP who are conducting the outreach campaign. The community will be invited to provide feedback on the process and possible concerns regarding the exhumation and identification process. 

The broadcast on social media will reach those not able to attend, including the Yazidi community worldwide. 

Yazda wishes to extend sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones at these sites as well as to the wider community 6 years after the genocide, and to renew its committment to see an advancement of Transitional Justice in Iraq including accountability, the right to truth and reparation programs.