Germany Supports UNITAD Efforts to Investigate Financing of ISIL Crimes

Baghdad 11 December 2020 - With the support of Germany, UNITAD is undertaking investigations into the financial aspects of ISIL crimes and the financial mechanisms that either supported or enabled perpetrators to profit from ISIL’s grave violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. Accountability for the crimes committed by ISIL must include identifying and prosecuting those who enabled and profited from these crimes.

This project, now in its second phase, will continue to support the work of UNITAD in investigating those who facilitated ISIL through financial support, and who may be culpable for international crimes. In support of this effort, UNITAD has established a dedicated team possessing specialized expertise and focus, in order to support its ongoing investigations. This team is also working with Iraqi national authorities in order to strengthen their capacity to collect and analyze information relevant to the financing of ISIL crimes.

Through this project, UNITAD will continue to focus on how ISIL developed a complex and lucrative financial system to enable its activities and push revenue to its command structure and its fighters. ISIL profited from various illicit activities entrenched in systemic campaigns of terror and violence. It was able to produce vast revenues, often through coercion (extortion), intimidation, and through fostering an atmosphere of fear. It is therefore imperative to investigate the financing of ISIL’s criminal activity; notably, the enslavement of minorities, the illegal extraction of natural resources, and the proceeds derived from the plundering and pillaging of property and cultural heritage. The violence committed by ISIL generated an environment where significant illicit profits were made, used, and sent to offshore beneficiaries. Profit and financial gain inextricably ran in tandem to ISIL’s ideology, and was a fundamental aspect of their common plan.  

Thanks to the ongoing project Germany is funding, UNITAD has been able to strengthen its investigations by including the collection of evidence relating to the key financial facilitators that link to the international crimes committed by ISIL and the profits that were made during the peak of its violent campaign.