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II. Recommendations

To the Interim Government of Iraq

  • Establish as an urgent matter a Commission for Missing Persons that initially engages international as well as Iraqi expertise and administration. The Commission should establish a system for protecting and preserving mass graves, create protocols for exhumations of gravesites, and set and oversee implementation of priorities for exhumations of mass gravesites that balance the  needs of families to identify victims alongside the evidentiary needs of criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrators. Wherever possible, exhumations should be commemorative events, part of a process of social reconstruction in which families and communities can re-bury the victims with dignity, and pay them the respect that they had been denied by political violence.

  • Promulgate a system, in conjunction with this exhumation and documentation effort, for issuing death certificates, which are required by the government for surviving family members to assert rights such as inheritance and remarriage.

  • Appoint a body of Iraqi and international experts to recommend standards and best practices for the handling of confiscated documents of the former government, including for the following purposes: 1) establishing a chain of custody in order to assure authenticity; 2) facilitating the archiving of documents in a manner that addresses both the evidentiary needs of criminal judicial proceedings against former high officials as well as the humanitarian needs of victims' families of the former government to resolve the fate of missing loved ones; and 3) working with Iraqi nongovernmental organizations and political parties to secure, to the extent possible,  the return to a national archive of originals of state documents currently in their possession.

To the government of the United States and other coalition governments

  • Establish a process for returning to Iraqi government custody the originals of all documents seized by U.S. and coalition forces since the overthrow of the former government.
  • Ensure that officials of the Iraqi Special Tribunal or the Iraqi criminal court have access to all confiscated documents to determine whether they represent potential evidence in future criminal proceedings.

To the international donor community

  • Ensure that resources are made available for the forensic and documentary evidence preservation priorities identified in this report, including for documentation, humanitarian, and truth-telling purposes separate from any trials for serious past crimes.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>November 2004