UNITAD and Iraqi Officials Discuss Pathways to Accountability for ISIL’s International Crimes, and Launch Joint Working Group
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Baghdad 6 March 2023: The United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL took part in a joint meeting with Iraqi members of the judiciary alongside legal experts from the Prime Minister’s office and the National Permanent Committee for International Humanitarian Law, as well as the Iraqi State Council, to discuss “Working Towards International Crimes Charges for ISIL Perpetrators in Iraq”, which was hosted at the Judicial Development Institute in Baghdad.
Judge Laith Hamza, Chief of the Judicial Oversight Commission inaugurated the meeting on behalf of Chief Justice Faiq Zaidan, stating that “the Supreme Judicial Council in its capacity as the judicial institution responsible for investigations and trials, in cooperation with all concerned entities in Iraq, appreciates, respects and commends the remarkable role which UNITAD plays,” thanking the Team for its work in the pursuit of justice for victims of ISIL crimes.
In his opening remarks Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD Christian Ritscher, stressed the importance of this meeting, as it “brings us closer to see the common goal of achieving accountability and ensuring justice for ISIL’s international crimes realized in Iraq,” adding that the purpose of the meeting was “to explore how best to support this Iraq-led process in navigating pathways for an appropriate legal framework that allows for dealing with ISIL crimes as international crimes in Iraq, in order to see ISIL perpetrators stand trials before competent courts.” He stressed that UNITAD stands ready to assist and provide technical support, including by supporting capacity building and leveraging international expertise. He further extended his thanks to the Supreme Judicial Council and to H.E. Dr. Faiq Zaidan for his continuous support.
At his end, Dr. Fadhil Al Gharawi, gave remarks on behalf of Dr. Ali Fawzi, Legal Adviser to the Prime Minister of Iraq and the Chairman of the National Permanent Committee for International Humanitarian Law, expressing his appreciation to the work of the Supreme Judicial Council and UNITAD to ensure that justice is delivered to Iraqi victims of ISIL international crimes. He explained how the National Permanent Committee has been working since 2014 to ensure that the rights of the victims of ISIL international crimes are preserved.
The meeting discussed various tools and options for the prosecution of ISIL international crimes internationally and in Iraq, including through adopting a national legislation, or amending existing legislations. The participants agreed to establish a joint working group as a mechanism that will meet regularly, and that will invite concerned parliamentarians and other experts as they deem needed.
After the conclusion of the meeting, Special Adviser Ritscher reiterated his thanks to the Judicial Development Institute for hosting the meeting, and expressed his confidence that this work will continue, stressing that UNITAD will spare no effort to support Iraq in its pursuit of accountability and justice for ISIL international crimes.