Delivered by: His Excellency Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i.

Madam President,

I would like to seize this opportunity to congratulate Ghana on their remarkable presidency of the Council last month. And we wish you, Madam President, a successful presidency of the Council this month. I also thank the Special Adviser, Mr. Christian Ritscher, for his valuable briefing on the work of the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh, UNITAD. I welcome the participation of Ambassador Mohammed Bahr Aluloom in this meeting.

Additionally, I would like to express our appreciation for the efforts of UNITAD in conducting investigations and collecting evidence of Da’esh’s crimes against the Iraqi people, including those constituting crimes against humanity and genocide. UNITAD’s efforts in that regard have culminated in the completion of five case briefs. We welcome the progress made in the investigations related to Da’esh’s crimes against the Christian community, as well as the progress seen in the investigations relating to the development and use of chemical and biological weapons by Da’esh. We hope that UNITAD’s efforts will support the capacity building of relevant Iraqi authorities in holding Da’esh accountable for their terrorist crimes.

We recall here that Iraq, as a sovereign State, has the primary responsibility to investigate the crimes committed by Da’esh on its territory, and hold the perpetrators accountable, as reflected in Resolution 2379, which recognizes that the relevant authorities in Iraq are the primary intended recipient of the evidence collected by UNITAD. We call upon the team to share this evidence with the relevant Iraqi authorities, in compliance with Security Council Resolution 2651. In the context of UNITAD’s efforts to share information it obtained with third countries to support the prosecution of Da’esh criminals, we urge the team to coordinate with Iraq in advance. We also urge the team to keep the Council abreast of the measures taken to implement these steps, and the efforts made to overcome challenges in this regard, in coordination with the Iraqi authorities. We hope to see further progress towards the implementation of this requirement in the upcoming period, as the survivors of Da’esh’s crimes in Iraq and the relatives of the victims are still waiting for justice to be achieved.

For the team’s efforts to succeed within its mandate, there is a need to continue communications between the members of the team and Iraqi officials on all levels, and cooperate with the Iraqi judicial authorities through information sharing, training, and capacity building.

Madam President,

Many families in Iraq are still waiting for the completion of the exhumation of remains from mass graves in Sinjar, Tel Afar, and elsewhere, as well as the identification of the victims’ identities, so that they can bury them with dignity. We appreciate the progress made in returning the remains of Yezidi victims, as families prepare the ceremony for the return of remains in the upcoming months. We also welcome UNITAD’s efforts to reconstruct crime scenes and reveal the circumstances related to mass graves using advanced technology.

The UAE supports UNITAD’s investigations into Da’esh’s destruction of cultural and religious heritage sites in Iraq, which includes cooperation with UNESCO, and we stress the importance of holding the perpetrators accountable. At the same time, it is important to continue to rebuild the sites and monuments that were damaged or destroyed, which requires concerted international efforts to revive this human and cultural heritage and give it back to the Iraqis and to humanity as a whole.

In conclusion, Madam President, we urge the international community to support the efforts of Iraq and UNITAD in promoting accountability for Da’esh’s crimes. In the upcoming period, we will continue to follow UNITAD’s efforts, including investigations into Da’esh’s crimes against children, and crimes of sexual violence. We also support the team’s focus on expanding investigations related to Da’esh’s financial resources and its use of Iraqi oil to finance its crimes. We will not be able to completely eradicate terrorism without drying up its funds.

I thank you, Madam President.