Thank you Mr. Ritscher for your comprehensive briefing today.
Accountability for ISIL’s crimes in Iraq is a prerequisite for the rule of law and sustainable peace in the country.
We commend UNITAD for continued progress in key investigative tracks during this reporting period- including improved evidence-processing time.
Regarding the Team’s initial priority investigations, we welcome evolving efforts from structural case assessments, to specific briefs supporting the prosecution of individual perpetrators.
This is a crucial step towards accountability.
We welcome also reported progress in other investigations, including ISIL’s crimes against Iraq’s Christian population.
It is deeply concerning that the evidence collected has further strengthened preliminary findings that ISIL has committed acts constituting crimes against humanity and war crimes against this minority group. There must not be impunity for such acts.
Furthermore, we commend advancements in the Team’s ongoing thematic investigation into ISIL’s sexual and gender-based crimes, and crimes against children.
The yielded evidence serves as a stark reminder of ISIL's depravity.
We continue to applaud UNITAD for consistently employing an age- and gender-sensitive approach in its work, and we note that the Team’s provision of psychosocial support to vulnerable witnesses is a best practice for investigations of this kind.
Norway commends Iraq for its close cooperation with, and support to, UNITAD.
Results in accordance with the Team’s mandate depend largely on this close partnership with national authorities.
However, we regret that domestic legislation to establish a legal basis for prosecuting ISIL’s atrocities in Iraq as international crimes, is still pending.
We regret also that the Government of Iraq has not adopted a moratorium on the use of capital punishment that would allow UNITAD to share its collected evidence with Iraqi authorities, in accordance with its terms of reference and core mandate.
We urge further progress in this area.
The depth, breadth, and speed of work that UNITAD has reported over the past two years has been a consistent – and refreshing – source of optimism during Norway’s term as an elected Council member.
The Team serves as a timely example of the impactful and innovative solutions the Council is capable of when it overcomes political gridlock and unites in pursuit of international peace and security.
So let me once again thank Special Adviser Ritscher for his briefing – and UNITAD for the Team’s tireless efforts to ensure accountability for ISIL’s crimes.
Norway continues to support the Team, and the Iraqi people, in this endeavour.