New York, 4 December 2023
I express my gratitude to Special Advisor Ritscher for the comprehensive briefing.
Albania commends UNITAD’s commendable efforts in Iraq, as articulated in the 11th Report of the Special Adviser. We extend a warm welcome to the Iraqi representative participating in today’s meeting.
In the face of the persistent threat of terrorism to peace and security, UNITAD’s pivotal role in gathering evidence and constructing cases against Daesh and its affiliates is crucial.
Albania acknowledges the progress achieved by UNITAD amidst numerous challenges and resource constraints. Notably, we applaud the completion of case assessment reports on gender and sexual crimes against the Yazidi community and the acquisition of new evidence regarding the development and use of biological and chemical weapons by Daesh.
The significance of the assessment report on the use of chemical and biological weapons by Daesh cannot be overstated. It marks a precedent, illustrating the alarming extent to which non-state actors can pose real and unprecedented threats.
We also appreciate the advancement of investigations, particularly in identifying high-ranking Da’esh officials and gathering evidence related to mass murder, enslavement of women and girls, rapes, and other heinous crimes. The completion of case files and the alignment of names with committed crimes bring hope to victims and their families, assuring them that justice is on the horizon. We wholeheartedly support these efforts.
While acknowledging the strides made, we recognize that more needs to be done in identifying perpetrators, collecting evidence, and ensuring that all those responsible for atrocity crimes in Iraq face justice.
We echo the Team’s assessment that investigations and case assessment reports cannot be concluded by September 2024. Additional time, resources, and the full engagement of Iraqi authorities are indispensable for the pursuit of justice through fair and due processes.
Looking ahead, we anticipate the Secretary-General’s report and subsequent recommendations on how to proceed in alignment with Resolution 2697. We urge this Council to act collaboratively with Iraq in providing ample time and resources for comprehensive justice to be delivered for all crimes.
Albania lends its support to the enhanced coordination between UNITAD and Iraqi authorities, affected communities, civil society, victims, and their families. The Team’s ongoing engagement with survivors’ groups, civil society, and academia is commendable, as it amplifies victims’ voices and contributes to gathering more evidence.
In conclusion, I underscore that holding Daesh perpetrators accountable for crimes in Iraq remains a work in progress, Iraq must receive all necessary assistance to end impunity.
We call upon this Council to steadfastly support UNITAD and Iraq in enhancing the legislative framework for international crimes, capacity-building for victims and survivors willing to testify, collaboration on mass grave excavations, and the establishment of a central digitized archive.
We align with the view that the Team’s five years of dedicated work must culminate in bringing perpetrators of atrocity crimes to the court of law. This is essential for ensuring meaningful justice and preventing the resurgence of Da’esh and its affiliates in Iraq and beyond.
In closing, as this marks our final address on this topic in the Council, I reiterate Albania’s unwavering commitment to justice and accountability as the bedrock for lasting peace and prosperity for the Iraqi people.