Statement at the UNSC Briefing on UNITAD
Statement05 December 2022
Thank you Madam President. Let me join others in congratulating you in assuming the Presidency.
Mr Ristcher, thank you for your report and briefing this morning. I want to assure you of Ireland’s steadfast support for your work in delivering justice for the victims and survivors of ISIL atrocity crimes in Iraq.
Let me also join others in welcoming our colleague, the Ambassador of Iraq.
Special Advisor, Ireland welcomes the progress achieved by UNITAD across all investigative lines of inquiry during the reporting period.
We also recognise the cooperation afforded by the Government of Iraq, the Iraqi judiciary and the authorities of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The completion of the first case assessment focused on crimes committed against the Christian community in Iraq marks an important moment for accountability in Iraq.
The evidence collected thus far strengthens the Team’s preliminary findings that ISIL commissioned acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes against the Christian community, including sexual violence and slavery.
We also commend UNITAD for the completion of an initial analysis on ISIL crimes against the LGBTQI+ community – horrific crimes, which included public executions of men and boys accused of being gay.
Furthermore, UNITAD’s continued attention to the thematic investigation into sexual and gender based violence perpetrated by ISIL is welcome.
UNITAD’s interviews with older Yazidi men who were enslaved will contribute to a broader understanding of the scope of gender violence inflicted by ISIL against the Yazidi community.
More broadly, we welcome the fact that the Team has placed cooperation with victims, survivors and civil society at the heart of all its investigative work.
As we heard today from the Special Adviser, the reporting period was defined by a shift from investigations, towards the identification of perpetrators most responsible for atrocity crimes, and the building of targeted case files.
This is welcome. But moving from evidence gathering to evidence-based trials requires further action.
Key to holding ISIL perpetrators to account is the adoption of national legislation enabling the domestic prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Ireland regrets the delay in enacting such legislation. We call on the Iraqi authorities to progress this initiative as a matter of priority. We note UNITAD’s readiness to support any such efforts.
Once again, Ireland reiterates its firm view that such legislation must preclude the application of the death penalty.
UN sanctions are an indispensable component of the Security Council’s toolbox in holding members of ISIL accountable for their actions.
Ireland is therefore encouraged by the ongoing efforts of UNITAD and the Iraqi authorities to cooperate on UN sanctions listings, including possible designations under the 1267 Sanctions Regime.
We look forward to approval by the Council of Ministers of the Memorandum of Understanding authorising the sharing of information in these types of cases.
Finally, Madam President,
The technical assistance and support provided by UNITAD to the Iraqi authorities is wide ranging, comprising evidence digitisation and preservation, forensic expertise, excavation of mass graves and training to judges and investigators.
This is important work, and we urge its continuation.
Beyond Iraq, we also welcome the growing assistance provided by UNITAD to support investigations by national authorities in a range of jurisdictions, including in Europe.
Before concluding, allow me to reiterate to you, Special Advisor, Ireland’s strong support for UNITAD’s crucial work.
Thank you Madam President.