Opening Remarks by Ms. Danielle Bell, Chief, Human Rights Office, UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI)
10 September 2022
Esteemed guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear colleagues,
Thank you for joining us in today’s roundtable discussion to take stock of how corruption cases are addressed by the Iraqi justice system. This event forms part of an important collaboration between the High Judicial Council, UNDP, the EU and UNAMI and is aimed at strengthening the Iraqi justice sector’s response to corruption.
Comparative experience shows that addressing corruption cases is challenging for any justice system. High level corruption cases stand out for their complexity, the need for achieving cooperation from different institutions in collecting evidence, their linkages with power structures and the reluctance of witnesses to testify.
As UN partners in this project, we thank you for your trust in working with us on the important question of how Iraq can best address corruption.
We convene today in a closed-door dialogue and frank exchange of experience on challenges and opportunities in investigation, prosecution and adjudication of corruption cases. We host this dialogue at the beginning of our trial observation program for corruption cases, because we seek your guidance at the outset of this program on where you see strengths and weaknesses of the justice system in addressing corruption cases.
The HJC has endorsed our work to conduct trial observation and granted our team access to investigative and trial hearings. The empirical data we are collecting in the program allows us to analyze the process and develop recommendations to you as well to support initiatives of our international and UN partners.
We aim to discuss these findings and recommendations of our trial observation work with you regularly. To this end, we suggest that today’s meeting is the first in a series of meetings to speak about the corruption response of the judiciary.
Secretary General António Guterres said: “Corruption threatens the well-being of our societies, the future of our children and the health of our planet. It must be fought by all, for all.” I thank you for standing up against corruption and hope we in the UN can effectively support you in this aim.