UNITAD-NGO Dialogue Forum convenes its Sixth Biannual Plenary Roundtable: Discusses UNITAD’s 11th report to the Security Council and implementation of Resolution 2697

Baghdad, 18 December 2023 – The United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) its sixth Biannual Plenary Roundtable meeting of the UNITAD-NGO Dialogue Forum.

The biannual roundtable brought together representatives of Iraqi civil society and international NGOs with UNITAD’s leadership and experts, to discuss the Team’s work over the past 6 months, and its 11th report to the Security Council. Special Adviser and Head of UNITAD Christian Ritscher also updated participating NGOs on the ongoing developments with regard to the implementation of resolution 2697.

Participants relayed their concern for the future of investigations and accountability process, in Iraq and in third states with competent jurisdictions, for ISIL’s international crimes, shall UNITAD’s mandate comes to an end. On his part Special Adviser Ritscher explained, in his opening remarks, that “there is no way forward for the Team to operate without the consent of the Government of Iraq.” At the same time, he stressed that the issue of witness consent and witness protection remains central to UNITAD’s work in line with the Team’s Terms of Reference and applicable rules and regulations of the United Nations.  

Further, Special Adviser Ritscher updated on the developments in investigations as detailed in the Team’s 11th report and his briefing to the UNSC.  He explained the ongoing close cooperation with counterparts in the Government of Iraq which has continued to support and facilitate the Team’s work, highlighting the constructive consultations with Iraqi counterparts, especially with the National Coordinating Committee, on the way forward to ensure that the work of the Team over the past years is not lost. He reiterated that UNITAD will continue its consultations with the Government of Iraq on a Road Map for the completion of the Team’s mandate, per SC resolution 2697. Further, he noted the importance of ensuring that Iraq can maximize the utilization of UNITAD’s work towards holding ISIL perpetrators accountable for international crimes before competent courts in Iraq.

During the plenary discussions, several participants commended UNITAD’s work in Iraq through its investigations covering ISIL crimes against all affected community, and also its work to support national capacity building efforts with various counterparts from government institutions as well as Iraqi civil society organizations. Representatives of organizations expressed the importance of witness protection. They also discussed the importance of prioritizing certain lines of investigation in the coming months and requested that all stakeholders maintain focus on the common goal of accountability for ISIL’s international crimes in Iraq. They advised on continued involvement of the impacted communities in tri-partite meetings and discussions that involve the Iraqi government, NGOs and UNITAD. One participant stressed the importance of the recent handing over of a comprehensive report on ISIL’s Chemical Weapons crimes to the Supreme Judicial Council, mentioning it was positively perceived within the Shia Turkmen community, who were subject to a chemical weapon attack in Taza Khurmatu in 2016.

Moreover, participants discussed important aspects of UNITAD’s work, including mass grave excavations and the identification of victims’ remains which are carried out in partnership with the Mass Graves Directorate and Medico-Legal Directorate.

The UNITAD-NGO Dialogue Forum was launched in December 2020, with the aim of serving as a platform that brings together all relevant international and Iraqi NGOs for regular collaboration, exchange of ideas and best practices, as well as exploring areas for enhancing cooperation. It convenes two types of events; the first is a series of thematic roundtable discussions in a panel-format, addressing specific thematic areas relating to UNITAD’s investigative activities. The events bring together international and local experts with UNITAD team member for an in-depth discussion on one theme for each roundtable. The second type of events is the biannual plenary roundtable which has served as an open platform for suggestions on how to better engage with NGOs. The plenary biannual meeting also introduces a space where survivors and community leaders can have their voices heard by both UNITAD and the NGO community.



For More Information please contact Public Information Officer (Maha Thaher) for the

United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL,

E-mail: UNITAD-PIO@un.org