ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The United Nations Investigative Team for the Accountability of Islamic State crimes (UNITAD) says it has made “strong progress” in efforts to find evidence to bring members of the terror group to justice.
The comments were made by the Special Advisor and Head of the Investigative Team, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, to the UN Security Council on Monday.
According to Khan, “digital, documentary, testimonial, and forensic evidence is now being collected” to help with the prosecution of members of the so-called Islamic State “for their atrocity crimes committed in Iraq,” a UNITAD statement read.
During the past two weeks, the UN organization retrieved over 600,000 videos related to crimes the terror group committed, including over 15,000 pages of “internal ISIS documents,” it added.
UNITAD’s investigation is focused on three key areas, Khan told the Security Council: crimes against the Yezidi (Ezidi) minority in the Sinjar (Shingal) district in August 2014, Islamic State crimes in Mosul between 2014 and 2016, and the mass killing of unarmed Iraqi air force cadets from the Tikrit Air Academy in June 2014.
“In a positive development, the Team was now identifying and strengthening channels for potential use of this evidentiary material in domestic proceedings in Iraq,” UNITAD stated.
In June, Khan met with Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, who was then the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) Chancellor, to discuss the progress in UNITAD’s work.
“The Kurdistan Region and Iraq have a moral responsibility to help hold [ISIS] members accountable for crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide against all communities, in particular, the Yezidi people,” Barzani said, according to a KRSC statement.
On March 15, the Iraqi government, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and UNITAD marked the beginning of national efforts to unearth the first mass graves of Ezidi victims of the Islamic State.
So far, at least 12 of the 79 mass graves found have been unearthed as the organization works to identify ways to use the evidence it has gathered effectively.