Iraq: As the world marks the International Day of the Disappeared, Alkarama reports two more cases of disappearances to the UN


On August 28 and 29, 2017, Alkarama and Al Wissam Humanitarian Assembly wrote to the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED ) regarding the disappearances of Duraid Al Janabi and Raed Al Janabi, both from Latifaya, who have been missing since 2014.

The CED, composed of independent experts, monitors the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED ), which Iraq ratified in 2010. It is thereby hoped that by submitting this report, the CED can help locate the two men.

Duraid Al Janabi, a 41-year-old civil servant, was arrested at his home on March 17, 2014 by members of the Iraqi Military Forces Division No. 17. The officers informed relatives who witnessed the arrest that he would soon be allowed to return home after they had asked him some questions, but he has never returned home and has not been heard from since. Fearing the worst, Duraid’s relatives reported his disappearance to the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad, but to no avail.

Four months later, on July 17, 2014, Raed Al Janabi, a 36-year-old daily worker, was at home when members of the Iraqi Army, the Federal Police, and Militia of the Popular Mobilisation Unit (PMU) arrested him. On November 26, 2016, the Iraqi Parliament passed a bill recognising the PMU as a government entity operating alongside the military.

Following Raed’s disappearance, his family’s attempts to look for him were in vain. They filed complaints with the Latifiya Police Station and the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad, and also tried to look for his name in the detainees’ registry of the Al Muthana Airport Prison, yet they did not receive any information about Raed’s case.

These two cases are part of a wider pattern of systematic enforced disappearances that prevails in Iraq. Victims are commonly arrested by the security forces during house raids, then held in secret places of detention and denied access to the outside world. Their relatives are left without any information as to their fate and whereabouts, and victims are tortured extensively, often with the aim of extracting confessions.

Such practice would constitute a crime against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. On August 30, the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances offers a unique opportunity for the international community to remind Iraq of its obligations under international law. As party to the ICCPED, Iraq must ensure that all persons who have been forcibly disappeared and whose fate is not yet known are searched for and located without delay.

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