Message from UNITAD Special Adviser on Victory Day in Iraq

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of Victory Day in Iraq, which commemorates Iraq’s defeat of Da’esh, the liberation of Mosul and the announcement that the Iraqi government had reclaimed control over all its territories.  Special Adviser Karim A. A. Khan QC praised the resilience demonstrated by the Iraqi people and by the brave fighters for the heroic sacrifices they made in their fight against Da’esh.

He also commended the unified manner in which Iraqis from all facts of life came together to defeat Da’esh/ISIL and liberate their land. “Despite the depravity and barbarity that Da’esh unleashed on innocent civilians, it failed to sow division between the people of Iraq. Instead, the gaps that existed were narrowed and a great deal of unity was achieved in the process of defeating Da’esh/ISIL territorially”, Mr. Khan highlighted. 

The Special Adviser also took a moment to remember the victims of Da’esh/ISIL. “The horrifying experiences that befell Iraqi communities in their entirety should always remain vivid in our minds”, Mr. Khan stressed.

Noting the destruction and reign of terror Iraqis suffered at the hands of Da’esh, the Special Adviser underscored how critical ensuring accountability remains to preserving the hard-earned peace that was achieved, and to fostering reconciliation among various Iraqi communities. 

To assist Iraqi accountability efforts, the Security Council established the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), an independent, impartial and credible accountability mechanism that operates with full respect for the sovereignty of Iraq.

UNITAD is mandated to assist Iraqi efforts in holding Da’esh/ISIL members accountable, including through providing domestic courts with evidentiary materials that are collected, gathered, analyzed and preserved in line with international standards.

The Special Adviser reaffirmed that the needs of victims continue to be placed at the center of UNITAD’s work, and the heroic manner in which they demonstrate their commitment to justice guides the Investigative Team and underlines the urgency to deliver on the promises made in Resolution 2379 (2017) through demonstrable actions and results.