Excavations in Diyarbakir’s former headquarters of JITEM continued despite the heavy snow. On Monday three more skulls were recovered bringing the total number of human skulls found to 29.

The former JITEM (a clandestine intelligence organization within the gendarmerie) is in the historic Içkale neighborhood of the city. A large number of bone fragments and skulls were discovered in the past weeks by laborers laying pipes close to the former JITEM building.

Içkale was known to be one of JITEM’s execution sites, no excavations in search of human remains were permitted in the area before the discovery because it had been designated an historic site.

Many families have applied to the Human Rights Association (IHD) in order to establish whether the remains belong to their relatives who had been forcibly disappeared especially during the ’90’s.

Diyarbakir Bar Association chair, Mehmet Emin Aktar, has criticized in a press conference the excavation in Içkale. He said excavations should be carried out in agreement to the Minnesota Protocol, the model protocol for the legal investigation of extra-legal, arbitrary and summary executions.

Aktar also noted that the area has never been used as a cemetery and always belonged to public authorities. This, he said, means "we are in the presence of a mass grave, proof of the executions which were going here".

Aktar added that more than 3,000 bodies were buried in more than 250 mass graves dating from the ’90s in the Kurdish region.