France is still committed to fight impunity and support the rule of law in Iraq [fr]
Statement by Mrs Marie-Laure Charrier, Political Adviser of the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 15 July 2019
We would like to thank Special Adviser Karim Khan for his informative briefing. In just a few months, he has set up a high-quality team of Iraqi and international experts that also includes an equal place for women. In that context, we welcome Ms. Salama Hasson Al-Khafaji, who is sitting beside him today, and the Iraqi Ambassador. That is a sign that the international community and Iraq, in response to Iraq’s request to the Security Council, are working hand in hand to fight impunity for crimes committed by Da’esh..
France would like to thank Kuwait for having organized, as part of its presidency, an exchange with Mr. Khan during the Council’s visit to Iraq. That enabled us to affirm on the ground our full support for the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD) two years after the adoption of resolution 2379 (2017) and to assess the challenges. Their work focuses today on the crimes committed by Da’esh in Sinjar, Mosul and Tikrit. That is a first step. Justice must be rendered for all victims of the most serious crimes committed by Da’esh throughout Iraqi territory. It is essential that regional leaders and commanders be brought to justice.
We welcome the initial operational progress made by the Team in the collection of digital documents and testimonies, as well as the excavation of mass graves in Kojo, in Sinjar, in March and April. The Team’s meeting with the council of tribal leaders of Anbar in June will contribute to deepening its close cooperation with Iraqi society and its authorities. It is a step in the right direction. We also encourage the Team to continue its work independently.
In that encouraging context, France would like to convey three messages.
The first message is to UNITAD. It is important that the Team continue to work with all actors: the Iraqi authorities, local actors, victims groups and non-governmental organizations, representatives of all components of the Iraqi population, as well as Member States. The United Nations, in particular the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), has a key role to play in supporting the Iraqi authorities in reforming governance and strengthening the judicial system and the rule of law. I would like to commend the cooperation between UNAMI and UNITAD, whose mandates in the fight against impunity are complementary. We encourage them to continue along those lines.
With regard to UNITAD sharing evidence with national judicial authorities in proceedings, France recalls that resolution 2379 (2017) and the Team’s terms of reference provide that evidence sharing should be carried out in accordance with United Nations best practices and international standards. In that regard, we recall that France is opposed to the death penalty in all places and under all circumstances.
My second message is addressed to all those who may have relevant information for them to provide it to UNITAD. In particular, we encourage States to commit to cooperating with UNITAD in an operational manner and, if necessary, to conclude cooperation agreements. France intends to fully cooperate with the Special Adviser and his teams. We welcome the fact that contacts have already been established between the relevant French authorities.
My third message is to the Iraqi authorities. Since the territorial victory over Da’esh, Iraq has fully recognized the need to prosecute those responsible for the most serious crimes committed on its territory. We welcome the determination of the Iraqi authorities to integrate the fight against impunity for all crimes, regardless of the victims and the affiliation of the perpetrators, into efforts to stabilize, rebuild and reconcile all components of Iraqi society, which is key to preventing any resurgence of Da’esh. We welcome in particular the support of the Iraqi authorities and the establishment of a Steering Committee appointed by the Government to determine how the cooperation should be carried out. It is important that Iraq continue its close dialogue with UNAMI on strengthening the rule of law. Finally, I would like to reiterate that France will continue its efforts to combat impunity and support the strengthening of the rule of law in Iraq. France is providing multifaceted assistance for strengthening the capacities of Iraqi institutions.
We formalized that in May with the signing of a joint Franco-Iraqi road map.
France supported resolution 2379 (2017) in 2017 because we stand side by side with Iraqis in the fight against Da’esh in all its aspects — security, political and judicial. UNITAD is now in place, which is an essential first step. However, there are still many challenges, as noted in the second UNITAD report (see S/2019/407). The evidence is numerous, but scattered. It needs to be used in proceedings, first and foremost in Iraq, that respect fundamental guarantees. The Council must support the Iraqi authorities’ efforts to address those challenges. It is therefore important that UNITAD’s work be developed and sustained. That is how the objectives of justice and reconciliation established in resolution 2379 (2017) can be achieved.