Christian Ritscher, who also heads the Investigation Team that Promotes Accountability for Crimes by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), asserts that those responsible must be identified, tried and convicted. projects “at the national and international level.”
“Only by prosecuting and treating barbaric acts such as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide can we bring justice to the many victims and survivors and ensure that their voices are heard“I said.
SA Ritscher @ #UNSC: During the reporting period, we kept and converted a total of more than 4.5 million pages of printed evidence documents from the courts above #Iraq to digital formats through self-contained cages. w/ Iraqi judicial authorities, @IraqiGovt & @ Kurdistan Regional government. pic.twitter.com/uZlnQnqpda
– UNITAD (@UNITAD_Iraq) June 8, 2022
Despite the challenges of COVID, over the past six months, the chief of UNITAD has reported “great progress”.
“We have continued to deliver accountability outcomes to survivors and their families, deepened our partnerships in Iraq and around the world, and deepened our pursuit of accountability. process and justice for the international crimes of ISIL.”
He told the ambassadors that by converting courtroom evidence into a digital format, UNITAD had reduced database search time “from days to minutes”, enabling More efficient and fair legal proceedings, “crucial to preserve the historical record of ISIL’s international crimes in Iraq”.
Much of UNITAD’s work involves interviewing witnesses, analyzing evidence, and drafting case files.
Mr. Ritscher emphasized how their investigation of Bayt al Mal – named after a financial institution in its early days calling itself the “Islamic Caliphate” – helped broaden understanding of ISIL’s financial operations.
“This is especially important because Money tracing means organization mapping; understand its structure; and define the hierarchy“I said.
It brings the team closer to identifying those most responsible “for the series of gruesome international crimes committed in Iraq”, he added.
UNITAD has also collected and maintained testimonies, digital evidence and documents, related to the manufacture and use of chemical and biological weapons by terrorists.
As they continued to take a closer look at the underlying procurements and financial flows for these weapons, UNITAD investigations helped identify those most responsible, leading to the creation of profiles specialized cases.
The Special Counsel drew attention to survivors and communities affected by such “inhuman weapons,” including chemical agents that have caused “continued” health problems. continues to this day”.
He said, adding that it was essential to “seize every opportunity” to hold perpetrators accountable for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The head of UNITAD affirmed that community engagement and ongoing dialogue with civil society are “primary goals” for the group to both serve justice and as important steps towards reconciliation.
Reportage by Giles Clarke / Getty Images
UNITAD ensures that each of its polls includes investigations of sex and gender crimes.
As part of this approach, UNITAD continued to interview Yazidi women and girls, survivors of sexual slavery and others who could provide information about their captors, including foreign terrorist fighters.
Furthermore, the support team carried out a series of investigative steps, including focused interviews with Yazidi witnesses in Iraq and abroad, and gathering battlefield evidence related to Yazidi enslaved networks. .
“Crimes against and affecting children are considered an overarching priority,” said a United Nations official, reporting that the group conducted interviews with enlisted Shi’a Turkmen boys in Da’esh.
Destroy cultural history
UNITAD will expand investigations into ISIL’s destruction of cultural heritage, Mr. Ritscher informed the Council.
“I visited the Nimrud site, which was blown up by ISIL in 2015,” he recounts. “A 3,000-year-old site turned into a ruin.”
While noting that the terrorists’ act of “devastating destruction” of cultural heritage is an attempt to erase Iraq’s diverse history, the Special Counsel said he continues to be impressed by the efforts made by them. the country’s unrelenting efforts to restore these sites.
“At UNITAD, we are committed to continuing our investigation to ensure that ISIL members responsible for atrocities in Iraq are held accountable to the competent courts,” he said.
More on UNITAD
Watch the video below on how and why UNITAD was formed, presented by former Special Counsel, Karim Khan, who is now Chief Prosecutor with International Criminal Court (ICC).