Iraq Body Count urgently needs your support to keep track of casualties - help us with a donation now


Having appeared in early 2004, what remains most important about this detailed analysis from IBC is that, while some of it is now outdated, most of it remains as pertinent today as then, particularly in regard to official disinterest and (perhaps a little less so) media priorities.

The sad milestone of 10,000 civilian deaths, as recorded by IBC, was cited across the political spectrum (though not necessarily with attribution).

As predicted, this milestone proved to be all too transitory.

Civilian deaths in “noble” Iraq mission pass 10,000

We need a tribunal to administer justice for the victims

7 Feb 2004

1. Introduction

As many as 10,000 non-combatant civilian deaths during 2003 have been reliably reported so far as a result of the US/UK-led invasion and occupation of Iraq . These reports provide figures which range between a minimum of 8,235 and a maximum of 10,079 as of Saturday 7th February 2004.

IBC’s experience of data-gathering throughout the preceding year shows that reports of additional deaths often continue to emerge many months after the event. Many civilian deaths are almost certainly, as yet, unreported, and even the current IBC maximum cannot be considered to approach a complete and final toll of innocent deaths during 2003.

This maximum figure of reported civilian deaths, derived from reports filed by correspondents in the field, is therefore likely to be only a transitory milestone in the catalogue of tragedies endured by Iraqis as a direct result of the US/UK invasion and subsequent military occupation. Iraq Body Count calls for the immediate establishment of an independent international tribunal to establish the circumstances of as many civilian deaths as possible, and to determine an appropriate and just level of compensation for the victims of US/UK aggression and negligence.

Iraqi civil defence and police forces have suffered the most

Pushing the total past the 10,000 mark were recent reports of Iraqi policemen killed since Saddam's fall in April. It is unsurprising that, as the CPA and occupying forces bunker themselves behind concrete fortresses, their most exposed and least well-protected front-line defence, members of the ‘new’ Iraqi civil defence and police forces, have suffered disproportionately. Once again it is Iraqis who are paying the heaviest price for the occupation, just as they paid the major human cost of the war.

Of the maximum total recorded on the IBC web site today of 10,079, a maximum of 7,356 were deaths in the invasion phase up to and including May 1 st, the day on which President Bush declared “major combat” over. The remaining deaths have occurred under the occupation, with the largest proportion of these derived from records held by the Baghdad morgue up to the end of September.

1 Transcript: the Bush-Blair press conference The Guardian, Nov 20 2003.

These disasters are the outcome of what George W Bush characterised in his London speech of November 20th as a “noble mission” to rid the world of terrorists. Of such terrorists he said “We see their contempt, their utter contempt, for innocent life.”1