Thank you President, and my thanks also to Mr. Ritscher for your comprehensive briefing today.
Norway remains a steadfast supporter of UNITAD’s mandate. Accountability for ISIL’s crimes in Iraq is a prerequisite for the rule of law and sustainable peace in the country. We are encouraged by the progress that the Team and Iraqi partners have made during the present reporting period toward bringing ISIL perpetrators to justice. We also commend the Team for completing its initial case assessment report of ISIL’s use of chemical and biological weapons. And we look forward to the final case brief for this critical investigative track, which should also be viewed in relation to the international
We welcome reported progress in several other investigations, including crimes committed by ISIL against Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. We are pleased to note that the Team’s priorities are beginning to shift from structural investigations to the preparation of specific case briefs to support prosecution of individual perpetrators. This development is a clear sign of the Team’s efficient work, and a crucial step towards accountability.
With regards to crosscutting thematic priorities, we yet again applaud the Team for consistently employing a survivor-centred, and age- and gender-sensitive approach across its work. We commend the Team for continuing to build its capacity in specialized cross-sectional areas, ensuring that investigative activities are conducted in line with international standards.
In the context of the investigation of crimes against Christians, we note that this approach has allowed the Team to [quote] “reach survivors of SGBV […] despite challenging social constraints” – a critical investigative feat that is also a key priority for Norway.
Similarly, with regards to the investigation of ISIL’s use of chemical and biological weapons, we note that the Team’s previous report described “under-reported gender-related harms” suffered by those targeted by such weapons. Now, upon the completion of the investigation’s initial case assessment, we would have welcomed additional information on this gendered dimension in the present report.
Finally, Norway is also pleased to note the robust partnership that continues between the Team and Iraqi authorities, including on a wide range of capacity-building and technical assistance measures strengthening national judicial institutions. We particularly commend Iraq for its active engagement and cooperation in this regard.
We would, however, be eager to learn more about UNITAD’s efforts to support Iraq in the adoption of national legislation allowing for the prosecution of international crimes – a prerequisite for the fulfilment of the Team’s mandate.
To conclude President,
Let me once again thank Special Adviser Ritscher for his briefing today. UNITAD’s work remains key to ensuring accountability for ISIL’s crimes, justice for survivors, and sustainable peace for Iraq. You can count on Norway’s continued support.