Finland Commits New Funding to UNITAD in Support of Witness Protection in Iraq

Baghdad, 17 November 2021 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland and the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) announced today the signing of a Contribution Agreement for the support and protection of vulnerable witnesses of ISIL crimes in Iraq. 

This contribution, which amounts to €300,000, is critical for the continuation of psychosocial activities and assistance to UNITAD investigations. A substantial part of this contribution will allow UNITAD to broaden the implementation of its psychosocial capacity-building activities for Iraqi judicial and investigative authorities, and other relevant national entities with respect to support and sensitivity to the needs of victims and witnesses.

The capacity building activities primarily focus on training to strengthen technical knowledge and skills, including access to clinical supervision and mentoring for staff who work on mental health and medical needs of survivors of ISIL crimes.

Moreover, in support of the protection of vulnerable witnesses, UNITAD is committed to ensuring the psychological safety of victims, survivors and witnesses of ISIL crimes so that they can testify in an emotionally safe environment to reduce the risk of re-traumatization. The contribution would enable vital psychological support to be maintained to assist witnesses, while also enhancing the professional capacities of Iraqi mental health service providers who offer specialist aftercare to witnesses.

"Finland values highly the work carried out by the UNITAD in helping bring ISIL perpetrators to justice. Promoting accountability is among the key priorities of the Finnish foreign policy. On this basis, we are very happy to support the witness protection work of the Investigative Team. Finland is a strong proponent of multilateralism and the rules based international order. We therefore look forward to deepening further our cooperation with the UNITAD, too,” says Ms. Kaija Suvanto, Director General of the Legal Service of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

Pursuant to UNITAD’s mandate, the Team will utilize this new funding by Finland to continue to support domestic efforts to hold ISIL accountable for international crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq, to the highest possible standards, to ensure the broadest possible use before national courts.