Statement on the work of UNITAD

Statement by the Republic of Slovenia at the UN Security Council briefing on the Threats to international peace and security, UNITAD

Thank you Mr. President,

Allow me to join others in congratulating you for the assumption of the Presidency. I wish you the successful steering of the Council through the month of June and assure you of our full support.

I thank the Acting Special Adviser Ms. Peyro Llopis for the presentation of the latest twelfth report of the work of UNITAD and I also welcome the representative of Iraq to the meeting.

Mr. President,

We highly appreciate the work of UNITAD and its valuable contribution to ensuring justice for all victims of crimes committed by Da’esh on the Iraqi territory. Thanks to the efforts of UNITAD on the ground more progress has been achieved.

With the UNITAD’s drawdown and liquidation plans initiated, we value that during this phase priority is given to the preparation of evidence, other material and analyses for delivery to the competent Iraqi authorities, in accordance with the resolution 2379 and 2697 as well as the Term of Reference. We welcome that many of these activities have been undertaken alongside the relevant Iraqi authorities within the framework of capacity building and training.

In this regard, I would like to make the following three points:

First, this year marks a somber anniversary: 10 years since Da’esh declared itself a caliphate, the apex of its reign of terror in Iraq. Towns and villages were razed, entire societies were torn apart, left to bear immense loss. Terrorism has inflicted and continues to inflict deep wounds on the societies affected in Iraq and beyond. Women are often the first targets. After nearly ten years, these survivors continue to yearn for justice. This should be a reminder that we must do our utmost to ensure that those responsible for the crimes committed by Da’esh in Iraq are brought to justice.  

The work of UNITAD, alongside Iraqi national and local authorities on the ground is critical to holding members of Da’esh accountable for crimes committed against Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims and in some cases against Sunni Muslims, Kurds, and other minorities, as well as sexual and gender-based crimes and crimes against children. 

Second, we greatly value UNITAD’s survivor-centred approach and their perpetrator-centred investigations. The documentation and evaluation of cases of sexual and gender-based crimes, particularly against women and girls from minority communities, is essential to ensure accountability as sexual and gender-based violence, including human trafficking, sexual slavery and forced marriage were used as weapons of terror by Da’esh. There must be no impunity for these serious crimes. Victims and survivors deserve justice. For this, it is essential to criminalize in national legislation international crimes, particularly those related to sexual and gender-based violence. We encourage the Government of Iraq to adopt such national legislation as soon as possible. Slovenia stresses that such legislation must preclude the application of the death penalty in line with the UN best practices.

Third, the materials and analyses produced by UNITAD have allowed it to assess, within its mandate, that acts committed by Da’esh in Iraq may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. It is critical that these materials can be used effectively to serve international criminal investigations and proceedings – both in Iraq and elsewhere. The only way we can achieve it is by ensuring all evidence and other documents are stored in active and accessible archives that ensure further analysis of the evidence collected and its probative value.

Mr. President,

While some of the investigations may not be finalized by the end of the UNITAD’s mandate and some requests for mutual assistance from third States may go unanswered – we call on the Government of Iraq to ensure that the crimes committed by Da’esh continue to be prosecuted in accordance with international law and the principle of the rule of law. UNITAD’s support to the Iraqi authorities provides a ledge for them to take the next step.

Even though the UNITAD’s mandate draws to a closure, the fight against impunity must continue. The UNITAD’s legacy must be preserved and best way to do it is by ensuring that UNITAD’s products can be used effectively. We owe this to all the survivors, to all courageous witnesses who came forward to share their stories. And their stories must not be overlooked or forgotten, nor should be the memories of the victims who perished. The best way to honor them is to hold perpetrators accountable, no matter where they are.

I thank you.

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