NGOs in Lebanon want to dig up mass graves from the civil war

LINA MAHFOUZ was six years old when Lebanon’s civil war began. She remembers hearing screams outside her bedroom window. One evening she saw a man in black carrying what looked like a dead body into the orange grove behind her home. “Years later I realised what they were doing. They were torturing and then burying people in the orchard,” she says. “The bodies are there.”

It has been nearly 30 years since the civil war ended. But thousands of people are still missing. Most are probably dead: killed in Syrian prisons, dumped in the Mediterranean or buried in one of more than 100 mass graves dug by sectarian militias. The men who started the war also negotiated the peace, granting themselves amnesty for their crimes. Many are still in power. The government has had scant interest in digging up the past.

But several Lebanese NGOs think bringing up the bodies will provide closure to the families of the missing. They support a bill that would establish an independent…

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