Message on the International Day of Genocide Prevention

On the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime, and the 71st anniversary of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Special Adviser Karim Khan QC joins in commemorating and honoring the victims of this horrendous crime. The devastating impact of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing on victims, communities and society as a whole can take generations to overcome and heal. In addition to the immense sense of moral responsibility that emerges in response to the catastrophic humanitarian toll, we find that legal obligations remain at the heart of national and international efforts to prevent or punish these crimes. This is clearly set out in Article I of the Convention.  Noting that the terrorist acts of Da’esh/ISIL constitutes a threat to international peace and security, the Security Council requested the establishment of United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) to support domestic accountability efforts, requiring the Team to collect, gather, analyze and store evidence in Iraq of crimes that may constitute genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. “In Iraq, all communities have been impacted by the crimes of Da’esh, yet we find that their message has been clear and consistent; Their demand is a simple one: Da’esh must be held responsible for the crimes that were committed” Mr. Khan said. He recalled that Da’esh made no distinction in the brutality of its attacks against different communities in Iraq, adding that “no preference or mercy were shown regardless of whether individuals were Christian or Yazidi, Shia or Sunni, Kaka’i or Turkmen or Shabak.”

The Special Adviser wishes to honor and pay tribute to the victims of these horrendous crimes, and reaffirms his commitment and that of his Team to fully deliver on the mandate entrusted to them by the Security Council by ensuring that the work of UNITAD contributes tangibly to domestic accountability efforts, and ultimately, to deliver justice to the victims through holding perpetrators accountable for their crimes. The Special Adviser stressed that “only through holding fair trials that the corrupt and perverted Da’esh ideology can be fully and completely exposed in a manner that will brook no answer at all.” Justice, he added, can be delivered through the provision of solid evidence to courts where they are challenged in a process that allows independent and impartial judges to make determinations that will stand the test of time.