The Iraq Body Count (IBC) entry for x350, like that for x334
series, was made possible by examination of the detailed data supplied
to the Associated Press (AP) by the morgues surveyed in AP's 23rd May 2004 survey
of Iraqi morgues. x334 dealt solely with the Baghdad city morgue; in x350
a further three morgues for the provinces of Tikrit (Salah ad Din), Kirkuk
(Tamim) and Karbala, covering the 12 months from 1st May 2003 to 30th April
2004, are integrated into IBC's database. IBC had already recorded numerous
incidents in its database for these provinces over this period: integrating
the new data required that overlaps between the existing and new data be identified
and eliminated from any final totals. Further allowances were made for caveats
in the text of the AP report, as had been done in x334. The footnotes below
provide technical details of the detailed methodology used.
As noted by AP, absent from this data are records from morgues which did not
participate in or respond to AP's survey — it should not therefore
be considered comprehensive.
To allow for the sentence in the reports which reads "Also, the bodies
of killed fighters from groups like the al-Mahdi Army are rarely taken to
morgues," an estimate of "between 1 in 50 to 1 in 25" was
used to represent the fighters' "rarely" featuring in morgue statistics.
AP's total figures were accordingly reduced by 4 per cent and 2 percent to
produce "fighter-free" minimum and maximum estimates.
These numbers were further reduced by morgue data for the equivalent 2002-2003
period and locations to provide an adjustment for normal "background" death
rates unattributable to the war and its aftermath. It is only the difference
between the pre- and post-invasion rates which are recorded here.
Deaths which may already have been recorded by IBC from other reporting for
the locations and periods concerned were subtracted from the totals obtained
after step 2 to avoid overlaps and double-counting (See the "Details..." note
to x073 for an example of the Methodology used in such
We also allowed for the statement in the report that read:
This was assumed to hold true for other morgues, in that it wasn't a policy
of the Baghdad or any other morgue but described the behaviour of Iraqis
outside those institutions. Therefore the existing IBC records identified
in step 3, above, which fit the description of "big terrorist bombing" had
their potential overlaps reduced by "half+1" for overlaps smaller
than 10 and by 60 per cent for larger ones — "60 per cent" being
our interpretation of the term "most" as used here.
"The figure [reported by the morgue] does not include most people
killed in big terrorist bombings, [Kais Hassan, director of statistics
at Baghdad's Medicolegal Institute] said. The cause of death in such
cases is obvious so bodies are usually not taken to the morgue, but given
directly to victims' families."
A special set of considerations was raised by IBC entry x298,
a cumulative total of 135 (min) to 141 (max) Iraqi policemen killed between
9th April and 19th December 2003. This was based on official Iraqi figures
and covered the entire country with the exception of Baghdad. A 5th February
2004 report in The Independent (UK), giving figures for policemen killed
in Mosul over most of the same period, allowed some of their number to be
discounted from any overlaps (Mosul is in Ninawah province). However the
remainder could not be so precisely located. One way to deal with the uncertainty
would have been to employ the Min-Max system, thereby allowing for two possibilities:
that ALL these deaths had occurred in the three provinces (most unlikely)
and that NONE had occurred there (also unlikely). Instead we elected to obtain
a more representative overlap using census data, which enabled us to calculate
the proportion of policemen likely to have been killed in the three provinces