Third report of the Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (S/2019/878) [EN/AR]
The third 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 is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 2490 (2019).
One year following its arrival in Iraq, the Investigative Team is now fully operational, with over 100 staff members supporting its work, including investigators, legal officers, forensic specialists and witness protection officers. In parallel, key operating procedures, technological equipment and evidence management facilities have been established to facilitate the collection, storage and analysis of evidentiary material in line with international standards.
Harnessing the increased substantive capacity and drawing on extrabudgetary contributions provided by Member States, the Team has expanded its strategy to include a number of additional priorities, ensuring that its focus and key objectives reflect the breadth of communities across Iraq that are affected by the crimes committed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
During the reporting period, the Team prioritized targeted field-based activities in Sinjar, Mosul, Tikrit and other locations across Iraq, collecting key documentary, forensic and testimonial material capable of filling evidentiary gaps in support of domestic proceedings. Engagement with survivors and affected communities has remained central to these efforts, with the Team implementing advanced witness protection and support measures to ensure that even the most vulnerable members of Iraqi society are able to come forward with their accounts.
The provision of support by the Team to the Government of Iraq in pursuit of accountability has remained at the core of its work. Capacity-building and technical support has been provided in such fields as the excavation of mass graves, DNA analysis and evidence digitization. Cooperation with the Government of Iraq has also been central to the effective conduct of investigative activities, as the Team has been able to draw on a wide range of existing documentary and digital material held by Iraqi national authorities in pursuit of its investigative priorities.
On the basis of extensive cooperation between the Investigative Team and the Iraqi judiciary, direct support was provided to ongoing criminal proceedings in a third State concerning ISIL crimes committed in Iraq, including the provision of witness testimony directly from the premises of the Team. This significant step in the implementation of Security Council resolution 2379 (2017) represents a joint success of the Government of Iraq and the Investigative Team, drawing on the common will to deliver accountability in line with the mandate provided by the Council.
Following the recent unanimous renewal of its mandate by the Security Council, the Investigative Team will prioritize the further strengthening of the partnership between the Team, the Government of Iraq and the international community in pursuit of accountability