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Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the Security Council VTC meeting on UNITAD, December 10

11.12.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery


Let me start by commending the Special Adviser Karim Khan and his team for the very important work that you are doing. Your description of the mass graves reminded us of the dimension of the horrendous crimes committed by ISIL. We appreciate the compassion you are demonstrating by working with survivors and their family members. The description that you gave reminded us of what the communities in Iraq have suffered through: crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes. Germany stands behind your efforts and will continue to support you financially, politically, and also by providing personnel.

Speaking of war crimes, let me recall our first Council presidency in April 2019, when we invited to the Council Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was a survivor of sexual violence committed by ISIL. She was among 1,000 Yazidi women who we invited to Germany for a chance to heal their wounds and to survive. In the Council, we were faced with the reality of what they had to encounter in Iraq. Perpetrators who committed these horrendous crimes have to be held to account. We owe it to the victims, the survivors, and the traumatised communities like the Yazidi. Only if we are successful in this work, will we give these communities a chance to heal and to find peace. By being successful, we also prevent similar crimes from being committed in other places.

It is very important that UNITAD works with local authorities, including the Kurdish regional government, and the affected communities. With NGOs, UNITAD promotes a spirit of partnership. It is also very important that you engage in training the Iraqi judiciary, so that the necessary legislation is hopefully adopted. The objective will be fair and independent criminal proceedings consistent with the applicable international law. For Germany, this includes the prohibition of the death penalty.

Let me end by thanking the Ambassador of Iraq. Thank you very much for the very close cooperation that we also heard about between UNITAD and your Government. This is very important. We look forward to the finalisation of the case briefs and seeing perpetrators sentenced.

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