UNITAD Hands over Landmark Investigative Report to the Iraqi Judiciary on ISIL’s Chemical Weapons Crimes in Iraq
Baghdad 31 October 2023: Today, Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) in Iraq, Mr. Christian Ritscher handed over a comprehensive report encompassing its investigative findings into the development and use of chemical weapons by Da’esh/ISIL in Iraq to the Iraqi Judiciary.
The report is the result of three years of the tireless work of UNITAD’s field investigative unit focusing on ISIL’s development and use of chemical weapons in Iraq and the attack on the town of Taza Khurmatu on 8 March 2016 yielded a comprehensive legal report that documents the Team’s findings and was handed over to the President of the Supreme Judicial Council Dr. Faiq Zaidan.
“Today marks a pivotal milestone in UNITAD’s path towards promoting accountability for ISIL international crimes in Iraq as we handover the findings of our investigation into one of ISIL’s most heinous and vicious attacks on the Shia Turkmen in Taza Khurmatu to the Iraqi Judiciary,” said Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD Christian Ritscher in a ceremony held at the Iraqi Supreme Judiciary Council. “We are confident that the Iraqi judiciary, which is UNITAD’s natural partner, will make use of the fruits of our labor to ensure ISIL perpetrators face justice and victims see justice served.”
This ongoing information-sharing between UNITAD and the Iraqi judiciary comes in the context of solid partnership in the joint pursuit of justice for ISIL crimes. This report furnishes the investigation into one of ISIL’s most horrid crimes that meant to inflict total destruction and annihilation on a minority group, the Shia Turkmen of Taza Khurmatu, using weapons of mass destruction.
Special Adviser Ritscher reiterated during the meeting that: “UNITAD’s line of investigation into ISIL’s development and use of chemical weapons is ground-breaking and sets the sediments for unprecedented judicial avenues and the Team will spare no effort to support bringing those responsible for such heinous crimes to justice.”
As part of its mandate, UNITAD conducts structural investigations into ISIL crimes against all affected Iraqi communities, including the Shia Turkmen. Earlier this year, Special Adviser Ritscher visited the town of Taza Khurmatu, and met competent investigative judges working on ISIL crimes in the town, as well as several officials, community leaders and survivors. He was briefed on the long-term repercussions of this atrocious crime on Iraqi civilians in the area, and the survivors’ quest for accountability and justice.