Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at an open VTC of UNSC members regarding the 6th report of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD)
We thank Mr.Khan for his briefing and the work completed. We also welcome Ms.Murad at the Council.
Fight against terrorism retains its high relevance. We are convinced that this evil can be effectively countered only given maximum broad coordination of anti-terrorist efforts. We proceed from the assumption that all stakeholders who are involved in countering terrorism in Iraq must respect the sovereignty of the Iraqi state and coordinate all actions with Baghdad. Action must correspond to the proclaimed goal, which is fight against terrorism and assistance to the Government of Iraq in stabilizing the situation.
We closely studied the 6th report of the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da'esh/ISIL (UNITAD) under the lead of Mr.Khan.
We welcome the finalization of ‘case briefs’ regarding two key tracks of investigation: attacks on the Yezidi community in Sinjar and killings of cadets at Tikrit Air Academy.
Hopefully, the results on the other investigation tracks will be just as quick. We noted that UNITAD took on some new tracks of investigation, i.a. development and use of chemical and biological weapons by the terrorists. It is important that all such episodes must be duly investigated and all who are responsible for them must be held accountable, no matter where those incidents took place. After all, ISIL was active not only in Iraq, but also in Syria. But while in Iraq’s case things are called by their real names (and UNITAD’s report reflects it), in Syria’s case, with its abundant evidence of CW use by terrorists, the investigations were just “soft-pedalled”. Such double standards are unacceptable, and we call to counter this practice.
It is our understanding that apart from gaining new evidence of ISIL’s crimes, UNITAD’s priority tasks must include cooperation with Iraq’s government and transfer of materials to Iraq’s competent authorities. Arrangements have been made with Baghdad as to access to data regarding economic crimes associated with ISIL’s activity. Now the most important thing is to have those arrangements honored and implemented. As for transfer of materials regarding other crimes, we do not see any reason to make this sort of cooperation depend on legislative reforms. The Security Council never prescribed such an approach. UNITAD’s mission as articulated by the Council is to support Iraq’s domestic efforts in terms of holding terrorists accountable in the framework of Iraq’s national system of justice. Resolution 2379 defines the relevant Iraqi authorities as the primary intended recipient of evidence collected by UNITAD, without any extra conditions.
Hopefully, the next reports by the UNITAD will inform us of the progress of court proceedings regarding the doings of ISIL fighters in Iraq.