Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at the Security Council briefing of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIL in Iraq

Mr. President,

We thank Mr. Khan for his second report to the Security Council.

The work of the Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by ISIL in Iraq is an important element of the counter-terrorism strategy for the Middle East. This region remains a stronghold for the leaders of ISIL, this group still posing a major threat to international peace and security.

The issues of bringing militants who sided with ISIL and the affiliated persons to accountability should be solved in a maximum effective manner.

As we understood from the report, and from the recent meeting of Mr.Khan with the Security Council members in Baghdad, the Mission of the Special Adviser found support with the Iraqi authorities and the multi-confessional people of Iraq. We find this very important.

Collection of evidence, its consideration and transfer to the judicial institutions should be carried out in strict compliance with the international law, given total respect for the sovereignty of States, where ISIL committed crimes. We proceed from the assumption that the pivotal role in bringing terrorists to justice should be played by the affected States. This is the axiom that Security Council resolution 2379 proceeds from, which provided basis for establishing the Investigative Team.

We commend that the Team has got down to practical work on the ground and commenced collection of evidence in Iraq. We expect that, based i.a. on this data, the judicial system of Iraq will soon start concrete proceedings against terrorists.

At the same time, it would be erroneous to have all problems related to holding trials and proceedings hoisted only onto Iraq or other countries of the region. In this regard, we have concerns about the unsolved problem of repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters (FTFs) to their countries of origin and of bringing them to responsibility. Various alternative ideas of trials are under discussion, some of them being rather utopian. We admit that Mr.Khan may turn out to be very demanded at some stage at many of such discussion platforms. We call upon him not to yield to political and judicial “temptations” and firmly adhere to the key mandate of resolution 2379, which is support for national efforts aimed at holding ISIL members accountable for the most heinous crimes under the international law committed in Iraq.

Mr. President,

The Russian delegation supported the establishment of the Investigative Team in 2017. Its first steps instill optimism. We call upon the Team to go on performing its hard work on the basis of principles of impartiality and openness. We are convinced that this is the only way the Team can make meaningful contributions to the efforts to hold ISIL terrorists accountable.

Thank you.