Atrocity victimization and the costs of economic conflict crimes in the battle for Baghdad and Iraq

John Hagan*, Joshua Kaiser, Daniel Rothenberg, Anna Hanson, Patricia Parker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Economic conflict crimes are defined in this paper as violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, as well as domestic law, associated with military and political conflict and producing significant monetary as well as other forms of suffering for civilians. Criminologists are well positioned by disciplinary emphasis to document and explain military and political violence resulting in economic conflict crimes. Criminal victimization associated with the US-led invasion of Iraq imposed an enormous toll on civilians. Yet there is little attention by criminologists or others to the profound economic costs to Iraqis, whether through lost property, life, or opportunities. We cautiously estimate that the economic losses for households in the city of Baghdad alone were almost US$100 billion, and more than three times this amount for the entire country, with Sunni groups experiencing significantly greater losses than others. So far as we know, our article presents the first estimates of civilian losses from economic conflict crimes that followed the US-led invasion of Iraq. These losses were widespread and systematic, the hallmarks of crimes against humanity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-498
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Criminology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Baghdad
  • Iraq war
  • crimes against humanity
  • economic conflict crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law

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