Sunday, February 5, 2023

‘Great progress’ made to bring down Da’esh/ISIL terrorists: UN

UN special adviser Christian Ritscher says by bringing Da’esh/ISIL terrorists to justice “great progress“ has been made.

• June 9, 2022
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)
Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL)

UN special adviser Christian Ritscher says by bringing Da’esh/ISIL terrorists to justice “great progress“ has been made.

He said crimes committed by the Da’esh terror network in Iraq constituted gruesome acts. Mr Ritscher spoke while briefing the Security Council on Wednesday at UN headquarters in New York.

According to him, crimes committed by the Da’esh terror network in Iraq constitute some of the “most gruesome acts we have seen in recent history.”

Mr Ritscher, who also heads the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UN Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact-UNITAD), upheld that those responsible must be identified, tried, and convicted “at the national and international level.”

He added, “Only by prosecuting and referring to such barbaric acts as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, will we be able to deliver justice to the many victims and survivors and ensure that their voices are heard.”

Despite COVID-19 challenges over the past six months, the UNITAD chief reported “great progress.”

“We have continued to deliver accountability outcomes for survivors and their families, strengthened partnerships in Iraq and throughout the world, and have stepped up our pursuit of accountability and justice for ISIL’s international crimes,” the UNITAD boss.

He told the ambassadors that by converting courtroom evidence to digital formats, UNITAD has reduced database search times “from days to minutes,” enabling more efficient and fairer legal proceedings that are “critical to preserving the historical record of ISIL’s international crimes in Iraq.”

Much of UNITAD’s work involves carrying out witness interviews, analysing evidence and drafting case files.

Mr Ritscher highlighted how its investigation into Bayt al Mal – named after a financial institution in the early self-styled “Islamic Caliphate” – has helped broaden the understanding of ISIL’s financial activities.

“This is particularly important as tracing money means mapping the organization, understanding its structure and identifying the hierarchy,” he said.

According to him, it brings the team closer to identifying those most responsible for the range of heinous international crimes committed in Iraq.

UNITAD also collected and preserved testimony, digital and documentary evidence, relating to the terrorists’ manufacture and use of chemical and biological weapons.

As they continue to look more closely at underlying procurements and financial flows for these weapons, UNITAD investigations have helped to identify those most responsible, leading to the production of dedicated case files.

In addition, the special adviser drew attention to those who have survived, and the communities affected by such “inhumane weapons,” including chemical agents which have created health problems that “continue to this day.”

The UNITAD chief maintained that community engagement and ongoing dialogue with civil society were “a key objective” for the team to both serve justice and as important steps toward reconciliation. 


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