Press Release

First Special Event in the Arab Region for UNITAD Discusses ISIL’s Leadership Structure and the Role of Foreign Fighters

20 November 2022

17 November 2022- Cairo: Co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Iraq to the League of Arab States, and the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States, UNITAD organized a special event at the Headquarters of the League in Cairo; the first of its kind held in the Arab region.

The special event, titled “Towards Prosecuting Core International Crimes Committed by Members of Da’esh/ISIL in Iraq: Command Responsibility, Identifying Leaders and the Role of ISIL Foreign Fighters” aimed to show how leadership cases for senior ISIL leaders and middle leaders can be built. UNITAD experts provided concrete examples, explaining ISIL’s leadership structure, and the responsibility of commanders, including responsibility for failing to prevent or punish the commission of international crimes. Moreover, a case study was presented on the so-called “foreign fighters” who joined ISIL from countries outside of Iraq.

In his opening remarks, Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD Mr. Christian Ritscher stressed the importance of this special event as the first being held in the region, and at the headquarters of the League of Arab States nonetheless. “This special event marks a milestone in UNITAD’s cooperation with states of the region in promoting accountability for ISIL’s international crimes. This is of great significance to the countries of the region which suffered from the criminality of ISIL, both in terms of perpetrators and victims,” said Special Adviser Ritscher. He further added that this special event comes in the context of the ongoing cooperation between UNITAD and the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to shed light on the ongoing work that the team is undertaking in partnership with the Iraqi judiciary in pursuit of accountability for ISIL’s international crimes.

The event brought together a large number of representatives of Arab states as well as embassies of several other countries in Cairo, who listened to a presentation by Judge Yassin Ahmed Fathi, Investigative Judge at the Nineveh Court, and Judge Nabil Karim Hassoun Judge of the Rusafa Central Investigative Court, giving an overview of their work on ISIL crimes in cooperation with UNITAD.

The event also included opening remarks by the two co-hosts represented by H.E. Ambassador Dr. Mohammed Lemine Guig, Under-Secretary General for Legal Affairs, as well as H.E. Ambassador Ahmed Al Dalaimy, Permanent Representative of Iraq to the League of Arab States; and a speech by Dr. Issam Al Saadi, Deputy National Security Advisor of Iraq.

The event comes in the context of UNITAD’s efforts to increase cooperation with states of the region, and its commitment to promote accountability for ISIL’s international crimes, including at the regional level. Most recently, in June of this year, Special Adviser Christian Ritscher addressed a meeting of the Arab Group at United Nations Headquarters in New York to brief them on the work of UNITAD in investigating ISIL crimes in Iraq. Earlier in March of this year, he visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where he held official meetings in Riyadh, and also at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah.

You may find the full opening remarks of Special Adviser Ritscher here:

Media Contacts

Maha Thaher

Public Information Officer

UN entities involved in this initiative

United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant

Goals we are supporting through this initiative