UNITAD Special Adviser’s Message on the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture

Baghdad, June 26 2020 – On the International Day in Support of the Victims of Torture, Head of UNITAD, Special Adviser Karim A. A. Khan QC, underlines the importance of speaking out against – and trying to prevent – the egregious crime of torture.

The Special Adviser reaffirms that “torture is a flagrant violation of human rights, prohibited under international law and may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

As part of its mandate to collect, preserve and store evidence of crimes committed by ISIL that amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, UNITAD is investigating acts of torture and other crimes of comparable gravity in order to build cases against those members of  ISIL who are most responsible.

The Special Adviser underlined that “On this day, and every day, we should remember the pain and suffering ISIL inflicted upon tens of thousands of people in Iraq. There is a urgent need to ensure there are thorough investigations leading to fair trials in which ISIL members answer for the crimes committed. Justice for the victims and survivors is not an option. It is an imperative. It is a right they have – and a right we must collectively vindicate”.

The Special Adviser reiterates the importance of investigating torture committed by ISIL as an international crime and urges the Iraqi Parliament to urgently consider the draft amendment to the Iraqi High Tribunal Law presented by the President of the Republic of Iraq. This law would permit Iraqi courts to prosecute ISIL members for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

“Prosecuting the acts of ISIL, and properly labelling them as international crimes, is of real significance to the survivors and victims of torture and other crimes. It is also something that should be important to us all”, the Special Adviser emphasized.