Those who lived under the ISIS caliphate were subjected to heinous crimes including killing, forced labor, rape, and sex trafficking.
Even now, “ISIS remains a critical threat in Iraq and globally,” declared Ambassador Richard Mills, Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations. “We have seen the terrorist group continue to use violence in Syria and Iraq and seek to refill its ranks by trying to break out captive ISIS fighters from detention centers and prisons.”
These crimes must not go unpunished. The UN Accountability to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL, or UNITAD, is doing its part to help deliver accountability for the barbarous crimes committed by ISIS. UNITAD continues to, collect, store, and preserve, evidence of ISIS’s crimes. This effort is laying a foundation for future prosecutions based on comprehensive evidence, including battlefield evidence.
Ambassador Mills welcomed the cooperation between UNITAD and Iraqi courts and other national authorities requesting information from it for investigations and prosecutions.
“UNITAD’s work can assist in the completion of transparent prosecutions against ISIS members that will meet minimum fair trial guarantees and legal protections," he said. "We encourage the Government of Iraq to adopt legislation on international crimes, notably genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity."
“The continued presence of thousands of ISIS foreign fighters in detention centers and their associated family members in displacement camps in Syria and Iraq must be addressed,” said Ambassador Mills. “These facilities are targets for attack by ISIS and for additional radicalization to violence, underscoring the urgency for all states to repatriate and prosecute those who have committed crimes, as appropriate. We commend Iraq and other nations for repatriating their nationals from these camps and we urge the Iraqi government to restart such repatriations.”
The United States welcomes UNITAD’s commitment to supporting domestic legal proceedings by states that have repatriated individuals who traveled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS and engage in terrorist activity. Ambassador Mills “urge(d) all states whose nationals committed crimes as foreign fighters . . . to take advantage of the valuable assistance UNITAD can provide in investigating and prosecuting these individuals.”
The United States is proud to assist UNITAD and looks forward to UNITAD’s continued progress in helping deliver accountability for ISIS’s depraved crimes and a measure of justice for its victims.