Iraq Publications

Reports & Briefs

Iraq: Learning Civilian Protection the Hard Way
29 July 2015  |  Journal Article
This article in Stability International Jouranl of Security and Development—based on the CIVIC's interviews with civilians and security forces in areas retaken from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) in Northern Iraq in 2015—examines challenges in civilian protection when pro-government forces take control of areas formerly under control of anti-government forces. It recommends to the Iraqi and Kurdish leadership specific harm mitigation training for their forces, a protection-based approach to shield civilians from harm from all sides, and provision of security to returnees, including protection both from crime and revenge attacks. Such preventative measures, if enacted before major military operations to retake populated areas under ISIS control begin, would better protect civilians, strengthen the government’s mission against ISIS and provide building blocks for a stable Iraq.

Monetary Payments for Civilian Harm in International and National Practice
02 October 2013  |  Research Report

How much is a life worth? While it is impossible to put a price on life, there is an important conversation to be had around the various levels of payment offered to victims of violence in response to their losses. This report maps various programs and their implementation in settings of armed conflict and in response to serious crimes and terrorist attacks. The report’s aim is not to “set a price” on civilian losses, but rather to evaluate the consistency of current practice in providing monetary payments—both the amounts and the methodology used by the entity offering the payment. This report is the product of collaboration between the Amsterdam International Law Clinic at the University of Amsterdam and Center for Civilians in Conflict in Washington DC.

US Military Compensation to Civilians in Armed Conflict
01 May 2010  |  White Paper

This report discusses the history of US military claims for civilian harm and reviews existing efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. CIVIC’s research for this briefing pape was conducted in Washington, Afghanistan, and Iraq from 2006–2010. In the absence of a standing claims system to address civilian harm occurring as a result of combat operations, the current US effort to provide “condolences” was pieced together in 2003 in Iraq and in 2005 in Afghanistan. There have been improvements over the years in both theaters, but the overall effort remains ad hoc and inadequate, often increasing resentment among the local population rather than fostering goodwill. 

Compensating Civilian Casualties: “I am sorry for your loss and I wish you well in a free Iraq”
30 May 2009  |  Joint Briefing Paper

This report examines 506 claims filed by Afghan and Iraqi civilians against the US military for monetary aid for harm allegedly caused by US forces. Tens of thousands of such claims have been filed in Afghanistan and Iraq; however, the 506 claims researched for this report represent the only files released by the US government to date. The US Foreign Claims Act (FCA) authorizes compensation awards to foreign nationals for death, injury, and damage to property from “noncombat activity or a negligent or wrongful act or omission” caused by US service members. The condolence payment program, separately, is part of the Commander’s Emergency Response Program fund and authorizes commanders to provide symbolic “gifts” for death, injury, or battle damage caused during US military combat operations. Both programs are ex gratia (an “act of grace”), meaning no law requires an award or payment. Yet, the American public, the Iraqi and Afghan people, and major segments of the US military do not adequately understand these programs. 

US Military Claims System for Civilians
30 April 2008  |  White Paper

In April 2007, the US military released the first-ever documents detailing individual claims for civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While the US military attempts to minimize civilian casualties, loss of innocent life is a reality in conflict.  Knowing civilians suffer death, injury and property loss during armed conflicts – whether in combat or merely by the presence of military forces – the question arises:  What should, or must, the US military do to address the damage caused by military operations to civilians?



Backgrounder: Civilian Harm Tracking  |  August 2013


Testimony & Advocacy

CIVIC Remarks at SOCOM Legal Conference
27 February 2015  |  Speech

Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Program Manager MENA and South Asia at CIVIC, spoke at the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Legal Conference on February 25, 2015.

CIVIC Remarks at Oslo Expert Meeting
18 June 2014  |  Speech

Sahr Muhammedally, Senior Program Manager MENA and South Asia at CIVIC, spoke at the Informal Expert Meeting on Protecting Civilians from the Use of Explosive Weapons, in Oslo, Norway.



Don’t Forget the Civilians in the Fight Against ISIS
16 July 2014 
 |  Atlantic Council  |  Sahr Muhammedally

Marla Ruzicka’s Heroism
19 September 2013
  |  The Nation  |  Sarah Holewinski

As Pentagon Reshapes Fighting Force, Civilian Casualties Need to be Considered
07 September 2012  |  The Hill  |  Sarah Holewinski and Dr. Larry Lewis  |  Opinion


Press Releases

US: Civilian Protection Should be Prioritized in Syria and Iraq Operations  |  26 September 2014 

US Assistance to Iraq: Recommendations on Civilian Protection  |  26 June 2014 



In Remembrance of Our Founder  |  16 April 2015

Infographics: Monetary Payments for Civilian Harm  |  02 April 2013

War/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath  |  25 July 2013

Honoring Marla Ruzicka: One Individual Who Changed War for Many  |  16 April 2012

IRAQ: On the Road to Recovery By Way Of Amends  |  05 May 2010