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Project October 31, 2022

Not Liable: How a Rare Compensation for an International Bombing Disregarded the Victims



The destroyed industrial zone in Hawija. Image by Pesha Magid. Iraq, 2022.

In early June 2015, a Dutch pilot bombed a factory operated by ISIS in the small Iraqi town of Hawija. The bomb triggered a massive explosion that rippled out into the surrounding areas, killing at least 85 civilians and destroying hundreds of homes.

For years the Dutch denied their role in the killing until it was uncovered by Dutch journalists. Under pressure, in December 2020, the Dutch promised 4 million Euros in recompense to Hawija through partnerships with the United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration. But the civilians who suffered debilitating injuries and lost their family members have been offered nothing.

At least 9,000 civilians were killed in the fight against ISIS, as the coalition bombed tightly packed urban areas, yet only one civilian received compensation from a coalition member. Hawija is emblematic of a more significant problem of international warfare, where survivors have almost no recourse to compensation.


war and conflict reporting


War and Conflict

War and Conflict