The European Union has adopted a new approach to enhance accountability for crimes committed by ISIS, aka Daesh, in collaboration with the United Nation Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL (UNITAD to archive evidence of ISIS crimes committed in Iraq.
The United Nation Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Daesh/ISIL (UNITAD) and the European Union (EU) signed on April 7 a Contribution Agreement through which the EU will fund a project to support the digitization and archiving of evidentiary materials of ISIL crimes held by Iraqi authorities.
The EU’s contribution of 3.5 million EUR to this project represents the largest extrabudgetary contribution received by UNITAD to date.
Through this project, UNITAD will provide technical assistance and support to national authorities and those in the Kurdistan Region, to establish comprehensive, indexed inventories of evidence relevant to ISIL crimes committed in Iraq.
This will strengthen the evidentiary basis for UNITAD and Iraqi national authorities in developing comprehensive case-files supporting domestic proceedings brought against ISIL members for crimes that may constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide, in line with international standards.
UNITAD is implementing this project with support from the government of Iraq and in consultation with the Iraqi National Coordinating Committee. As an initial step, UNITAD will conduct detailed mapping of existing evidentiary material, before developing a detailed digitization plan.
Special Adviser Karim A. A. Khan QC, Head of UNITAD, thanked the EU for its generous support and underlined “The preservation and organization of evidentiary material in relation to ISIL crimes will serve to deepen the evidential foundations available for ISIL prosecutions. By establishing a comprehensive documentary record of these acts, we also contribute to global efforts to promote peace and security by ensuring that the ideologically bankrupt nature of ISIL is exposed.”
The Special Adviser added that doing all this will help ensure justice and that the gravity of these crimes – and the sacrifices made by Iraqi citizens – are not forgotten. “The victims, survivors – and indeed humanity – deserve no less. Accordingly, I record my gratitude to the EU for its generous contribution and to the Government of Iraq for its support of this project” he concluded.
UNITAD, with a total of 107 staff, has gained access to more than 600,000 videos related to ISIL crimes, as well as over 15,000 pages of internal ISIL documents originally obtained from the battlefield by leading investigative journalists.
The UNITAD investigations targeted three main perspectives: ISIS attacks against the Yazidi community in the Sinjar District in August 2014, and its crimes committed in Mosul between 2014 and 2016, i.e. the targeting of religious minorities, sexual violence crimes, and crimes against children, as well as mass killing of unarmed Iraqi cadets from Tikrit Air Academy in June 2014.