Delivered by: His Excellency Mohamed Abushahab, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
I thank the Special Adviser, Mr. Christian Ritscher, for his important briefing, and I welcome the participation of the representative of Iraq in this meeting.
At the outset, I would like to stress the importance of UNITAD’s efforts, particularly their continued progress made in collecting and analyzing evidence of crimes carried out by Da’esh in Iraq, to allow the Iraqi authorities to use it in national prosecutions. We stress the need to continue holding these criminals accountable and to set an example for those who commit such heinous crimes around the world.
We also welcome the recent progress made across several lines of investigation, particularly those concerning crimes carried out by Da’esh in and near Mosul, the group’s former stronghold. We call for expanding investigations into the organizational and financial structures of Da’esh in Mosul to help to uncover additional leads about the identities of the perpetrators of crimes in this area. This should include the Badush prison massacre, the group’s role in the development and use of biological and chemical weapons, and the destruction of cultural and religious heritage sites as well as their exploitation for political and terrorist purposes.
We support UNITAD’s continued investigations into the most serious international crimes committed by Da’esh, including those that targeted women and children in Sinjar and other areas. To support these efforts, it is important that UNITAD shares evidence with the Iraqi authorities in a timely manner and in accordance with Resolution 2651. We hope that the results of these investigations will help support other efforts undertaken by the Iraqi government to achieve justice for these victims in various aspects.
We also welcome the formation of a joint working group between UNITAD and several governmental institutions in Iraq. We wish them success in their efforts, particularly those aimed at drafting national legislation on core international crimes and the formation of a legal framework that supports the prosecution of perpetrators of such crimes.
At the same time, it is important that the Council remaining seized of the issue on the sharing of evidence with Iraq in the coming period and ensure that all possible efforts are made to facilitate this.
While we welcome UNITAD’s efforts to support the prosecution of criminals affiliated with Da’esh in Third States, we stress the importance of carrying out these efforts in full and advance coordination with Iraq.
The UAE commends UNITAD’s endeavors to build the capacities of the relevant judicial and security authorities in Iraq, especially concerning the conduct of investigations and the field of digital forensics support.
We also commend the achievements made by the UNITAD team in digitizing and archiving evidence and in providing training programs on document and evidence management. Additionally, we commend the use of advanced technology in its work, especially in investigations related to mass graves, the exhumation of remains, and revealing details and facts related to these graves.
We hope that these practices will contribute to the advancement of local working methods and inform similar investigations across other places around the world. To complement these efforts, it is critical that knowledge be transferred to Iraqi experts through increasing their appointments within the core working teams of UNITAD.
In conclusion, we are keen to continue our cooperation with the members of the Council on this file, especially as we approach the end of the current UNITAD mandate this September.