Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
September 15, 2023
Thank you, Madam President.
The United States welcomes the extension of UNITAD for another year. I’d like to specifically thank the United Kingdom for its tireless efforts to achieve Council consensus on this resolution. We also thank the Government of Iraq for its commitment to UNITAD’s important mission, and for working with the Security Council to continue this important work for another year. Finally, we’d like to thank Special Advisor Ritscher and his staff for their efforts to carry out UNITAD’s mandate.
Colleagues, while we’ve made great strides, the fight against Da’esh will not be complete until perpetrators of atrocities are held accountable. That is why the Security Council heeded Iraq’s own requests in 2017 to partner with the United Nations to establish UNITAD. The United States has consistently supported this effort and we will continue to do so.
United States’ support has helped UNITAD and the Government of Iraq lay the foundation for future prosecutions, based on comprehensive evidence, including advanced forensics and battlefield evidence in some of the world’s toughest locations.
Indeed, UNITAD is an essential component of the international community’s broader effort to ensure that Da’esh members and their affiliates are held accountable for their crimes, wherever they reside.
Our support for UNITAD is support for the idea that international crimes should be investigated and prosecuted in accordance with established legal standards. To that end, information sharing with third states for these investigations in accordance with the terms of reference agreed between UNITAD and the Government of Iraq is one of the most important outcomes of cooperation to date.
This cooperation has been absolutely essential in the efforts of UN Member States to hold foreign terrorist fighters accountable in their countries of origin and repatriate them from detention centers of concern. To date, 18 Member States have requested UNITAD share evidence to support prosecutions against over 300 alleged Da’esh members and affiliates.
UNITAD has already assisted 21 investigations in the United States, helped lead to successful convictions in Sweden and Portugal, and facilitated the first-ever conviction in Germany of a Da’esh member for an international crime: genocide against Yezidis in 2021.
We urge the Government of Iraq and the United Nations to protect this essential cooperation and quickly to develop modalities for continued sharing of information in accordance with this resolution. It is clear that UNITAD’s work is not done. I would like to emphasize that this resolution should not be understood to predetermine future action with regard to any future renewal of UNITAD’s mandate.
We will be ready to continue the work beyond the upcoming year, should the demand remain.
We look forward to the opportunity to support UNITAD’s important work, with the Government of Iraq, as both Iraq and the international community bring Da’esh perpetrators of violence and genocide to justice.