Cooperating with the Government of Iraq
“I have made it a priority to establish and maintain a continuous dialogue with senior members of the Iraqi Government, including the Presidency, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Security Advisory. Together, we are working towards ensuring accountability for core international crimes committed by ISIL” - Special Adviser Christian Ritscher 8 Jun. 2022
To ensure effective cooperation with the Government of Iraq (GoI), UNITAD works closely with the National Coordinating Committee (NCC). Designated by the Government of Iraq, the NCC represents a key interlocutor for UNITAD, and helps ensure the Team’s work receives sustained support and guidance. It is made up of key national counterparts, including senior representatives of the Office of the Prime Minister as the central coordinating entity, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security Advisory and Ministry of Justice, as well as a representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The Government of Iraq is also responsible for ensuring UNITAD is provided with all necessary assistance to fulfil its mandate, particularly with respect to:
- Freedom of movement throughout the territory of Iraq;
- Unhindered access to all places and establishments, and freedom to meet and interview representatives of national, local and military authorities, community leaders, non-governmental organizations and other institutions, and any person who may have evidence that is considered necessary for the fulfilment of the mandate, in an environment of security, confidentiality and tranquility;
- Unhindered access for individuals and organizations wishing to meet the Investigative Team;
- Free access to all sources of information, including documentary material and physical evidence;
- Appropriate security arrangements for the personnel and documents of the Investigative Team, without restricting its freedom of movement and its investigations; and
- Protection of victims and witnesses and all those who come into contact with the Investigative Team, and an undertaking that no such person shall, as a result of such contact, suffer harassment, threats, acts of intimidation, ill-treatment or reprisals.
The Terms of Reference regarding the UNITAD’s activities provide a clear and stable overarching framework for cooperation between the GoI and UNITAD. Paragraph 43 of the terms of reference confirms in particular that the Investigative Team, its personnel, records, archives, property and assets will enjoy the privileges and immunities, exemptions and facilities provided for in the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations of 13 February 1946.
The Special Adviser continues to engage in regular discussions with senior members of the GoI to ensure continued understanding and support with respect to the scope and progress of UNITAD’s work. This engagement provides an opportunity for both parties to consult on relevant developments regarding the work of UNITAD.
In addition to strengthened political support for the Investigative Team’s work in Iraq, the operational cooperation between UNITAD and key national authorities help to ensure that the work of UNITAD can be conducted in a manner that is complementary to ongoing investigations in Iraq and serves to fill evidentiary gaps in support of domestic proceedings.