I've noticed this question being repeated more than once on the comment section here and on a few other sites.
I want to know why such a question is being asked; would a report about mass graves in 2002 make the situation any different?
Is it that some people think it's too much for Iraqis to get a year off from being buried in mass graves?
Is the question suggesting that all the mass graves fond so far in Iraq do not count if 2002 was free of mass graves?
Or maybe people asking this question are trying to say that Saddam suddenly became a better person in 2002?
Maybe I'm being oversensitive here and maybe it's just an innocent question; however I'd like to talk shortly about it.
The tragedy of mass graves was associated with certain incidents, namely the uprising in 1991 and the notorious campaign against the Kurds in the late 1980s and a few other cases and I guess most of you already know this.
The other thing is that the absence of mass graves in a specific year does NOT mean that no people were executed at that time because there were always executions carried out separately in different spots in the country and the victims' bodies were either buried separately or sent to their families to be buried.
I still have to admit that 2002 was relatively less bloody than the years that preceded it; at that time I noticed that people would express their anger on the streets with less fear from punishment, not because Saddam became a nicer guy or decided to allow free speech (God forbid!) but mainly because he was more concerned about a greater threat coming from across the Atlantic so he partially ignored the war on the "internal front" against the people.
In spite of that, executions continued until the last days in the regime's life and there are stories about people executed even in the 1st week of April 2003 (sorry for not providing links).
More over, many doctors who served in Abu Ghraib before 2003 confirmed that an average of 40 prisoners were executed weekly in that prison alone in two execution sick festivals each week, every week on Saturday and Tuesday if I didn't forget, which gives a total of around 2000 executions/year in Abu Ghraib alone (sorry again for not providing links).
I read some report a week ago about the number of executions in different countries and China ranked 1st with a total of approximately 3400 executions/year and the Chinese government is being severely criticized for that.
And considering that the population of China is more than 50 times that of Iraq; a total of 80 executions/year would more or less put Iraq in the same rank of China's when it comes to declaring an execution crisis.
But Saddam being keen on fulfilling his responsibilities towards his people was able to finish the assignment of one year in a matter of two weeks.