IBC was founded in January 2003 by volunteers from the UK and USA who “felt responsibility to ensure that the human consequences of military intervention in Iraq were not neglected.” The organisation records civilian deaths since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has a separate running total which includes combatants.
The database includes deaths caused by US-led coalition forces and paramilitary or criminal attacks by others. At a minimum, each incident recorded includes the number of people killed, where, and when. However, the data can be much more extensive, including details of the following: date, time, place, target, minimum deaths, maximum deaths, minimum injuries, maximum injuries, weapons, killers, media sources, primary witnesses, name, age, gender, marital status, parental status, and occupation.
As much detail as possible is recorded in a standard format, which also ensures that double counting does not occur. The database can record a range of deaths, with the highest and lowest number of deaths published by at least two independent sources being recorded.
The database is free and able to be downloaded by the public. It contains 18 variables, including weapon type, and is relatively easily searched. IBC also releases its distinct original press and media sources to “bona-fide enquirers for research and verification purposes.”
IBC uses English language media reports of violent events and bodies being found as the primary sources for their data, although the reports do not always originate in English. These media reports are supplemented by the “review and integration” of hospital, morgue, NGO and official figures. All incidents must be reported by a minimum of two independent sources. Where this is not possible, the incident will be marked as ‘provisional.’
The principal limitation in the database is found in the coding of the weapon used in each incident. There appears to be no common terms used by those entering incidents into the database, which makes it extremely difficult to search the database for incidents which involved an IED. For example, under ‘weapons,’ one can find a myriad of descriptions, including: “a car packed with explosives,” “car bomb,” “roadside bomb,” “bomb in cart,” “bomb in cart near café.” This makes any analysis of the use of IEDs in Iraq very difficult, if not impossible.
This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.
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