United Nations Security Council Meeting on Threats to International Peace and Security



Mr. President,
At the outset, my delegation would like to welcome the eighth report on the activities of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. We also wish to express our gratitude to Special Adviser Christian Ritscher for the valuable briefing, which brings further understanding to the state of play of the key benchmarks in the implementation of resolution 2379 (2017). This Council knows too well that the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqi people, and their expectation for a swift, an impartial and an independent investigation into the crimes committed by ISIL and affiliated terrorist groups against civilians and vulnerable groups in Iraq, hinges firmly on the work of UNITAD.
We must therefore continue mobilising the international community to remain engaged in seeking accountability, including through providing vital support to the investigative team to enable it to assist the Iraqi authorities to thoroughly carry out needed investigations into the crimes perpetuated by ISIL, especially the reported grave human rights violations and abuses, war crimes,
crimes against humanity, genocide and the deliberate acts of vandalism targeted at cultural and religious sites. Ghana holds the view that maintaining the momentum is necessary to hold accountable all those who believe that they can maintain impunity for parochial ideological and religious gain, including the use of violence to terrorise vulnerable groups and individuals. Accountability is fundamental to dealing decisively with the scourge of terrorism and violent extremism.
In this context, it is imperative for the international community not to countenance any situation which allows the crimes committed by ISIL and affiliated groups in Iraq or anywhere else to go unpunished. Without effective accountability, we do not only undermine the global fight against terrorism but potentially we risk diminishing the hopes of victims and survivors for justice.
Mr. President
In joining our voices with that of other Council members in acknowledging the commendable progress recorded by UNITAD, we note that a lot more can be done in the area of enhancing cooperation and informationsharing between UNITAD and the competent Iraqi authorities. In this regard, we wish to make the following three (3) points:
• Firstly, it is pertinent for the Investigative Team to be mindful of the need to have an Iraqi-owned and Iraqi-led process. National ownership and support for the key strategic, operational, and evidence-collection activities of UNITAD, in line with the Terms of Reference is of utmost importance to building case files that would facilitate successful trials. In this respect, UNITAD’s role and its work should not seek to replace or act as an alternative to the Iraqi judicial system but must be complementary by providing the requisite institutional support and resources to assist Iraqi investigative judges and investigators in the task of evidence gathering and preservation to aid effective prosecutions of crimes.
• Secondly, the Iraqi political and judicial authorities must continue to sustain the healthy cooperation and coordination that has characterized its relationship with the investigative team. We wish to encourage the relevant Iraqi authorities to scale up their efforts to cut through administrative bottlenecks, red tape and bureaucracy to create the necessary conditions and environment to support the important task of UNITAD. It should not be lost on anybody, including Iraqi officials that evidence-based prosecutions, is fundamental to ensuring that justice is obtained for all affected citizens, without discrimination or selectivity, in order to spur genuine national reconciliation.
• Lastly, we wish to underline that international cooperation and multilateralism remains a vital component of any meaningful effort to degrade the capabilities of terrorists groups and curb the serious threats posed by them to international peace and security. Joint and coordinated action among all stakeholders and international partners, including the UN system is the only way to comprehensively prevent and counter terrorism, including dismantling the opaque and clandestine operations of terrorists groups, their leadership, structures, financing, ideology and decision-making processes.
In concluding, Ghana affirms her support for the leadership of Special Adviser Christian Ritscher and looks forward to the successful implementation of the mandate of UNITAD.
I thank you.