UNITAD Visit the City of al-Ramadi in al-Anbar

Baghdad, Iraq - UNITAD Special Adviser and Head of the Investigative Team Karim Khan QC and his team were hosted by the Deputy Governor of Al Anbar Province, Mustafa Al Ersan, along with senior officials from the military, police and other agencies. They discussed the mandate and work of UNITAD and the importance of investigations in Al Anbar, pursuant to UNITAD’s mandate. After that meeting, the Special Adviser travelled to the Council of Tribal Leaders of Al Anbar, presided over by the Head of the Council, Sheikh Rafi Al Fahdawi.

More than 300 tribal leaders attended the meeting with Special Adviser Khan, representing more than 29 regional tribes. The Special Adviser emphasised that UNITAD would follow the evidence and investigate crimes against all communities in Iraq, noting that Sunni tribes, as well as other Sunnis, Shi’a, Christian, Yazidi, Kaka’i, Shabak and Turkmen Shia had all endured great suffering at the hands of Da’esh. Whilst acknowledging the right to justice, the Special Adviser also emphasised the responsibilities of all leaders in Iraq – from whatever community they belong – to encourage witnesses, victims and those with information to approach UNITAD and provide it with such material, in order to render more effective the investigations into Da’esh/ISIL crimes.  In this regard, he applauded the support from the Central Government with respect to UNITAD’s mandate. Between December 2013 and 2017 ISIL attacked and occupied Al Anbar Province, causing widespread loss of life and damage to infrastructure and property. Reports indicate that many men, women and children were executed or otherwise lost their lives at the hands of Da’esh/ISIL. Special Adviser Khan reiterated that every victim or survivor of Da’esh crime has the right to proper investigations and accountability for those responsible.

Special Adviser Khan stated: "We are grateful to the regional authorities, local community groups and tribal leadership for hosting UNITAD today and taking the time to update us on various matters. Iraqi citizens have withstood hardship and suffering with real resilience as well as with remarkable dignity. I have witnessed this dignity and poise in all the various communities in Iraq with whom I have had the honour to engage."  The Special Adviser stated that "all victims and survivors have a right to justice, which includes proper investigation and fair and independent trials. The leaders of all tribes and all communities have a responsibility to help heal the wounds and help facilitate justice." This requires cooperation with UNITAD so that all the available information relevant to Da’esh crimes may be collected to help ensure that those most responsible are identified and subjected to independent, impartial and credible trials that will stand the test of time, the Special Adviser added.