‘Great progress’ made in bringing Daesh/ISIL terrorists to justice, says Security Council |
Christian Ritscher, who also heads the investigative team to promote accountability for crimes committed by Daesh/ISIL (UNITAD), argued that those responsible must be identified, tried and convicted “at national and international levels”.
“Only by prosecuting and referencing barbaric acts such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide can we bring justice to the many victims and survivors and ensure that their voices are heard. heard,” he said.
S.A. Ritscher @ #UNSC: During the reporting period, we preserved and converted a total of more than 4.5 million paper pages of documentary evidence from courts across #Iraq to digital formats through close cooperation. with Iraqi justice, the @IraqiGovt & @Kurdistan Regional government. pic.twitter.com/uZlnQnqpda
— UNITAD (@UNITAD_Iraq) June 8, 2022
Despite the challenges of COVID, over the past six months the UNITAD leader has reported “great progress”.
“We continued to deliver results on accountability for survivors and their families, strengthened our partnerships in Iraq and around the world, and intensified our pursuit of accountability and justice for ISIL’s international crimes.
He told Ambassadors that by converting evidence in courtrooms into digital formats, UNITAD has reduced database search times “from days to minutes,” enabling more efficient court proceedings. and more equitable which are “essential to preserving the historical record of ISIL’s international crimes in Iraq”.
Much of UNITAD’s work involves interviewing witnesses, analyzing evidence and writing briefs.
Mr. Ritscher pointed out how his investigation into Bayt al-Mal – named after a financial institution at the start of the so-called “Islamic Caliphate” – has helped broaden the understanding of ISIL’s financial activities.
“It is all the more important that tracing the money means mapping the organization; understand its structure; and identify the hierarchy,” he said.
This brings the team closer to identifying those most responsible “for the range of heinous international crimes committed in Iraq”, he added.
UNITAD has also collected and preserved testimonies, digital and documentary evidence, relating to the manufacture and use of chemical and biological weapons by terrorists.
As it continues to take a closer look at the underlying purchases and financial flows for these weapons, UNITAD’s investigations have helped identify those most responsible, leading to the production of specific records.
The special adviser drew attention to those who survived and the communities affected by these “inhumane weapons”, including the chemical agents that created health problems that “continue to this day”.
From Yazidis to Kaka’i and Shabak to Shia Turkmen, “we aim to advance justice on behalf of the many victims and survivors of core international crimes committed by Daesh against the Iraqi people,” he said. said, adding that it is essential to “seize every opportunity” to hold perpetrators accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The UNITAD leader asserted that community engagement and continued dialogue with civil society is “a key objective” for the team both to serve justice and as important steps towards reconciliation.
Giles Clarke/Getty Images Reportage
UNITAD ensures that each of its investigations includes investigations into sexual and gender-based crimes.
As part of this approach, UNITAD continues to interview Yazidi women and girls, survivors of sexual slavery and others who may have provided information about their captors, including foreign terrorist fighters.
Additionally, the team assists with a series of investigative steps, including targeted interviews with Yazidi witnesses in Iraq and abroad, and collection of battlefield evidence related to enslavement networks. Yazidis.
“Crimes against and affecting children are also considered a top prioritysaid the UN official, reporting that the team conducted interviews with Turkmen Shiite boys enlisted by Daesh.
Destroying cultural history
UNITAD will expand its investigations into the destruction of cultural heritage by ISIL, Mr. Ritscher informed the Council.
“I visited the site of Nimrud, which was destroyed by ISIL in 2015,” he said. “A 3,000-year-old site reduced to a heap of rubble.”
While noting that the “vicious destruction” of cultural heritage by terrorists was an attempt to erase Iraq’s diverse history, the Special Adviser said he continued to be impressed by the country’s continued efforts to restore these sites.
“At UNITAD, we are committed to continuing our investigation to ensure that ISIL members responsible for atrocious crimes in Iraq are held accountable in the appropriate courts,” he said.
Learn more about UNITAD
Watch a video below on how and why UNITAD was created, presented by former Special Adviser, Karim Khan, who is now Chief Prosecutor to the International Penal Court (ICC).