Message from Special Adviser Khan Marking International Justice Day

On 17 July, the world marks the Day of International Criminal Justice. Its observance reflects the international community’s collective acknowledgement of the vital role of accountability for grave international crimes in securing enduring peace, security and human rights.

On 21 September 2017, that commitment was renewed and given concrete expression through the Security Council’s unanimous adoption, at the behest of the Government of Iraq, of resolution 2379 (2017), establishing the UN Investigative Team to promote accountability against Da’esh crimes – UNITAD.

As Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD, I re–affirm on behalf of my Team our determination to make good on this commitment to the thousands of victims and survivors who continue to seek justice for the crimes Da’esh committed against them in Iraq.

Justice can only be achieved by conducting thorough and impartial investigations that feed into fair trials. To this end, UNITAD is collecting, storing and preserving evidence across Iraq, as well as conducting hundreds of interviews with victims and survivors of Da’esh crimes in line with international standards, to assist in delivering accountability for crimes that may amount to War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity and Genocide.

Evidence collected by UNITAD will feed into domestic courts and allow those who suffered from ISIL crimes to see perpetrators brought to account. In so doing, we also demonstrate the absolute absence of any moral or religious justification for the atrocities perpetrated by Da’esh against the people of Iraq.  

Justice is not an abstract concept. It requires practical results, in the form of fair trials where justice is done for all to see. Exposing the crimes, ideology and fallacy of Da’esh – in court, where hard evidence is presented– will serve as a springboard for national reconciliation and long-lasting peace.

As victims and survivors are eager to see comprehensive justice, they remain hopeful for their cries to be heard, their suffering to be recognized, and their perpetrators to be brought to justice.

UNITAD is determined to ensure that these hopes are fulfilled, through its continuing partnership with the Government of Iraq and the international community.