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The IRAQ BODY COUNT Project PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Sunday, 30 October 2005 07:44
from the IBC website, www.iraqbodycount.net

This is a human security project to establish an independent and comprehensive public database of media-reported civilian deaths in Iraq resulting directly from military action by the USA and its allies in 2003.
In the current occupation phase this database includes all deaths which the Occupying Authority has a binding responsibility to prevent under the Geneva Conventions and Hague Regulations. This includes civilian deaths resulting from the breakdown in law and order, and deaths due to inadequate health care or sanitation.

Results and totals are continually updated and made immediately available on this page and on various IBC counters which may be freely displayed on any website, where they will be automatically updated without further intervention.

Casualty figures are derived solely from a comprehensive survey of online media reports. Where these sources report differing figures, the range (a minimum and a maximum) are given. All results are independently reviewed and error-checked by at least three members of the Iraq Body Count project team before publication.

The project takes as its starting point and builds upon the earlier work of Professor Marc Herold who has produced the most comprehensive tabulation of civilian deaths in the war on Afghanistan from October 2001 to the present, and the methodology has been designed in close consultation with him.

Professor Herold commented: ?I strongly support this initiative. The counting of civilian dead looms ever more importantly for at least two reasons: military sources and their corporate mainstream media backers seek to portray the advent of precision guided weaponry as inflicting at most, minor, incidental civilian casualties when, in truth, such is is not the case; and the major source of opposition to these modern ?wars? remains an informed, articulate general public which retains a commitment to the international humanitarian covenants of war at a time when most organized bodies and so-called ?experts? have walked away from them?.

A Dossier of Civilian Casualties in Iraq: 2003?2005

This is the first detailed account of all non-combatants reported killed or wounded during the first two years of the continuing conflict. The report, published by Iraq Body Count in association with Oxford Research Group, is based on comprehensive analysis of over 10,000 media reports published between March 2003 and March 2005. The latest figures on the Iraq Body Count website show a minmum of 26,732 and a maximum of 30,098 civilian deaths to today, Sunday, October 30.

Findings include:

Who was killed?

24,865 civilians were reported killed in the first two years.  Women and children accounted for almost 20% of all civilian deaths.  Baghdad alone recorded almost half of all deaths.

When did they die?

30% of civilian deaths occurred during the invasion phase before 1 May 2003.  Post-invasion, the number of civilians killed was almost twice as high in year two (11,351) as in year one (6,215).

Who did the killing?

US-led forces killed 37% of civilian victims.  Anti-occupation forces/insurgents killed 9% of civilian victims.  Post-invasion criminal violence accounted for 36% of all deaths.  Killings by anti-occupation forces, crime and unknown agents have shown a steady rise over the entire period.

What was the most lethal weaponry?

Over half (53%) of all civilian deaths involved explosive devices.  Air strikes caused most (64%) of the explosives deaths.  Children were disproportionately affected by all explosive devices but most severely by air strikes and unexploded ordnance (including cluster bomblets).

How many were injured?

At least 42,500 civilians were reported wounded.  The invasion phase caused 41% of all reported injuries.  Explosive weaponry caused a higher ratio of injuries to deaths than small arms.
The highest wounded-to-death ratio incidents occurred during the invasion phase.

Who provided the information?

Mortuary officials and medics were the most frequently cited witnesses.  Three press agencies provided over one third of the reports used.  Iraqi journalists are increasingly central to the reporting work. 

Speaking today at the launch of the report in London, Professor John Sloboda, FBA, one of the report's authors said: "The ever-mounting Iraqi death toll is the forgotten cost of the decision to go to war in Iraq. On average, 34 ordinary Iraqis have met violent deaths every day since the invasion of March 2003. Our data show that no sector of Iraqi society has escaped. We sincerely hope that this research will help to inform decision-makers around the world about the real needs of the Iraqi people as they struggle to rebuild their country. It remains a matter of the gravest concern that, nearly two and half years on, neither the US nor the UK governments have begun to systematically measure the impact of their actions in terms of human lives destroyed."
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 October 2005 07:44

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