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Statement by Ambassador Byrne Nason at the UNSC Briefing on UNITAD

Thank you very much indeed Mr President.


Mr Ritscher, thank you for your report and the briefing this morning. I want you to know that you will have Ireland’s support as you fulfil your mandate. I also want to acknowledge the presence of the Permanent Representative of Iraq.


Mr President,


It is clear that UNITAD’s important work in ensuring accountability and support for survivors of ISIL crimes accelerated over the reporting period. The completion of a third case brief connected to the mass killing of predominantly Shia prisoners at Badush prison, as well as advanced investigations into ISIL financial crimes, are examples of such progress.



Ireland wishes to recognise the cooperation afforded by the Iraqi authorities to the Team, without which such headway would not have been possible.


We also commend UNITAD for rising to the challenge, particularly during the pandemic, posed by huge amounts of digital evidence by using creative technological solutions.


Mr President,


Building trust, and providing gender and age responsive support, are crucial in encouraging victims of ISIL crimes who are members of vulnerable and marginalised communities to actually share their stories.


We want to acknowledge the efforts of UNITAD and the Iraqi Government to meaningfully engage survivors and victims in accountability efforts.


We were pleased to see the detail in the report on the range of supports UNITAD is offering to victims and survivors, including the provision of psychosocial support measures to encourage members of the LGBTQ community to come forward.




While it is crucial that supports and reparations are provided for victims and survivors, it is also essential to hold perpetrators to account for their crimes. In a UNITAD context, this means moving from evidence gathering to evidence-based trials.



We welcome UNITAD’s intention to prioritise support to the Iraqi authorities to ensure the adoption of national legislation enabling the domestic prosecution of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the coming six months.



Such legislation would mark another important step by Iraq in the journey towards accountability for ISIL atrocity crimes. Ireland encourages concrete action towards that end.



Ensuring that criminal proceedings comply with international human rights law is of course essential.



I also wish to reiterate Ireland’s unequivocal opposition to the death penalty in all cases and circumstances. 


Separately, the capacity building assistance provided by UNITAD to the Iraqi authorities is crucial to achieving comprehensive accountability. We strongly urge the continuation of this important work as it relates to evidence digitization, excavations of mass grave sites and the provision of judicial training in international criminal law.


Mr President,


Given the scale and nature of crimes committed by ISIL against Iraqi citizens, we have a collective responsibility to deliver accountability.


The deepening support provided by UNITAD to domestic proceedings in different jurisdictions is therefore welcome.


In particular, we note the judgment in the case referenced by Special Adviser Ritscher in his briefing. As the first prosecution of an ISIL member for international crimes drawing on UNITAD evidence, and the first ever conviction of an ISIL member for genocide against the Yazidi community, this is an important reminder of the Team’s value in delivering justice for the victims and survivors of ISIL crimes.


Ireland commends also Germany and all those states who have initiated proceedings to prosecute atrocity crimes committed by ISIL members in their domestic courts.


Special Adviser,


ISIL’s development and use of chemical and biological weapons is abhorrent and unacceptable.


We welcome your update on the investigation into the use of chemical and biological weapons by ISIL, including progress on inquiries into the impact of the Taza Khurmatu attacks, including gender-related harms. We look forward to completion of this particular case brief in 2022.


Allow me to conclude, Mr President, by reiterating Ireland’s steadfast support for the important work of UNITAD in ensuring accountability and justice for victims and survivors of ISIL crimes.


Thank you, Mr President.

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