Delivered by H.E. Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative
Check against delivery.
I thank the Special Adviser, Mr. Christian Ritscher, for his comprehensive briefing and welcome Ambassador Mohammad Bahr Aluloom, in today’s meeting.
Achieving justice for the victims of crimes committed by Da’esh is a pivotal aspect in combating and eradicating terrorism and sends a clear message to terrorists around the world that the international community is determined to hold them accountable for their heinous crimes. From this standpoint, the UAE commends the significant efforts of UNITAD to help hold Da’esh accountable for their crimes. We also commend the progress made in several files during the reporting period, especially the completion of the initial case assessment report on the development and use of chemical and biological weapons by Da’esh, in addition to the investigations into the financing of their terrorist crimes.
We underscore that there is a need for UNITAD to continue its investigation into crimes committed by Da’esh against local communities, including the Yazidis. There is also a need for UNITAD to complete its search for mass graves in Sinjar, Tal Afar, and elsewhere to identify the victims. Priority must be given to completing the remaining case briefs urgently and without delay and to achieve justice for the families of the victims, so they can bury their loved ones with dignity.
Additionally, in accordance with resolution 2379, all evidence must be made available to the relevant Iraqi authorities that are the primary intended recipients of this evidence, so that it can be used in courts to hold Da’esh members accountable for their crimes and ensure justice. We commend UNITAD’s efforts to provide expertise and technical support to Iraq, including providing the Government with an advanced Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), which uses DNA matching to identify victims. We emphasize UNITAD’s important role in digitizing and archiving the evidence that is currently available at the Iraqi courts to preserve it from damage.
Furthermore, we commend the team’s use of advanced technology and applications, such as “Zeteo”, which has greatly improved the team’s ability to identify perpetrators of terrorist crimes. We encourage further development of such exemplary methods that can be replicated in future investigations related to similar crimes in other areas, which highlight the important role that technology plays in maintaining international peace and security.
The UAE attaches great importance to the work carried out by the specialized unit in UNITAD that investigates crimes committed against women and children, such as crimes of sexual and gender-based violence, and which simultaneously cooperates with specialized agencies to provide psychological support to victims. The UAE has been keen to support this unit and has provided it with half a million dollars, as we believe that its critical to have a gender-responsive approach during investigations into Da’esh’s crimes.
Supporting victims also includes the restoration and rebuilding of Iraq’s deeply rooted cultural heritage, which Da’esh has attempted to destroy in order to completely erase the identity and history of Iraqi communities. Crimes committed by Da’esh have affected historical and sacred sites such as Al-Tahera and Al-Saa’a churches as well as Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul. The UAE is currently contributing to rebuilding these three sites in cooperation with the UNESCO, as part of international efforts in the context of the “Revive the Spirit of Mosul” initiative.
In conclusion, the UAE stresses that there is a need to continue working with international partners to ensure Da’esh is defeated, to prevent the spread of its violent ideology wherever it appears, and to bring members of this terrorist group to justice to hold them accountable for the crimes against innocent people. In this regard, we welcome UNITAD joining the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact, and we affirm the UAE’s keenness to enhance cooperation with the UNITAD and support it in carrying out its tasks effectively.
Thank you, Mr. President.