ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The UN announced the creation of a new network of lawyers, activists, and others that will aim to tackle crucial issues of human rights and justice in Iraq's province of Nineveh, home to several ethnic and religious groups and where the embattled city of Mosul is located.
The Human Rights Office of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) released a statement announcing the Nineveh Human Rights and Justice Network on Friday, two days after holding a roundtable with local lawyers and civil society activists to discuss the criminal justice system in the province since the fall of the Islamic State (IS).
At the roundtable, the first of many forums that are set to take place in the coming months on justice-related issues in the province, participants shared their experiences on the administration of justice, the treatment of victims of sexual violence, and the situation for marginalized groups.
The Nineveh Human Rights and Justice Network will be comprised of lawyers, civil society activists, social workers, and representatives of the Mosul Bar Association and will "examine human rights issues related to the administration of justice, including due process concerns" raised by human rights organizations critical of Iraq's trials of those suspected of involvement or membership in IS.
"Earlier in the week, Chief Human Rights Office Ms. Danielle Bell and her team visited the Governorate," read the statement, "where she met in Mosul with Judge Salem Mohamed Nouri, the chief of Federal Cassation Court in Ninewa where they discussed issues related to human rights and administration of justice and the challenges that post -ISIL phase have on the judiciary."
Bell also stressed the role of UNAMI "in supporting accountability for those who were responsible for crimes against humanity, maintaining transparency and fairness to those who are detained and tried before the courts in Iraq."
"Meaningful accountability is fundamental to addressing the crimes of the past, enabling societies to recover from the legacy of terror," she said.
In a separate effort, a UN team will start their fieldwork in early 2019, looking into war crimes committed by IS fighters against Iraq’s Yezidi (Ezidi) minority, the head of the investigation said on Tuesday.
In August 2014, IS carried out mass executions against the Ezidi ethnoreligious minority in northern Iraq. Thousands of people were subjected to atrocities and mass executions for many years at the hands of the extremist group after they overran Sinjar (Shingal), located in Nineveh Province.
The city was liberated on Nov. 14, 2015, by Iraqi and Kurdish forces with the aerial support of international coalition warplanes.
In September 2017, the UN adopted a resolution to bring to justice the terror group’s militants who partook in the atrocious war crimes in Iraq.