Supporting National Authorities
UNITAD works closely with the Government of Iraq to provide technical assistance in order to strengthen law enforcement and judicial systems and help strengthen the capacity of national authorities to investigate and prosecute ISIL crimes in line with international standards.
UNITAD works to ensure that Iraqi counterparts can benefit from the in-house expertise and experience of its staff and makes every effort to share knowledge and technical assistance with them. Making the most of its international network, UNITAD also cooperates with other United Nations bodies, programs, funds and offices, within their respective mandates, to enhance specialized support to the Government of Iraq. In addition, UNITAD liaises with Member States and regional and other intergovernmental organizations for this purpose as well.
Through this work, the Team seeks to reinforce its operational cooperation with the Government of Iraq and strengthen the capabilities of relevant national counterparts in a manner that allows UNITAD to make use of resources available to national authorities as it conducts its activities pursuant to its mandate.
Mass Grave Excavations: Conducting Forensic Work in line with international standards, supporting the return of remains to families
Several support programs of technical and legal assistance are presently being implemented with the Mass Graves Directorate and the Medico-Legal Directorate, in accordance with which UNITAD has provided training, technical equipment and consumables to enhance the forensic analysis capacity of these authorities with respect to crime scene investigations, exhumations and the identification of victims.
The assistance includes the installation of disaster victim identification technology that meets international standards, which allows authorities to process large amounts of ante-mortem and post-mortem data on missing persons recovered from mass crime scenes in Iraq. Based on its forensic evidence collection and analysis work to date, the Team is also developing a series of best practices manuals to guide the work of Iraqi authorities in this field. UNITAD will continue to provide support to relevant counterparts in line with its mandate.
Digitization of evidentiary material: Expanding the evidence-base for ISIL prosecutions
The Investigative Team has also engaged with Iraqi national authorities in the development of an evidence digitization program, through which UNITAD deploys mobile teams of archivists and information management specialists to assist key government entities in the physical archiving and digitization of evidence.
Through this work, the Team seeks to significantly enhance the ability of national authorities to draw on existing evidentiary bases and strengthen their capacity to build cases line with international standards. This also enhances the ability of Iraq to engage with UNITAD in the implementation of its mandate.
Witness Protection and Support: Helping the most vulnerable come forward
The Team also continues to engage in dialogue with a number of relevant Iraqi authorities with a view to further strengthening their capacity to provide comprehensive protection and support to witnesses, thereby also enhancing modalities of cooperation with UNITAD in this area. Specific elements that are being addressed include the implementation of existing domestic legislation with respect to witness protection, the development of a national witness protection structure, including a witness protection focal point network, and the establishment of a 24/7 witness hotline and response mechanism.