UNITAD Reports on ISIS Crimes

07/17/2019 Iraq (International Christian Concern) – The United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh (ISIS or ISIL), also known as UNITAD, has issued a six-month report to the Security Council on their work in 2019.

UNITAD was criticized for its slow start in investigating the crimes of ISIS against religious minorities. It was established by the UN Security Council in 2017. However, UNITAD did not begin investigate work until 2019 – two years after ISIS was defeated in several areas that they had committed genocide against Christians and Yazidis. There was much concern that any strong evidence of the genocide diminished over time.

Yet, UNITAD reports that this has not prevented investigators from collecting evidence. According to UNITAD, they have within the last two weeks gained access to more than 600,000 videos related to ISIL crimes, as well as over 15,000 pages of internal ISIL documents originally obtained from the battlefield.”

A special focus has been given to collecting documentary, digital, testimonial and forensic evidence from both Mosul and Sinjar. It is anticipated that the first UN backed prosecution of a captured ISIS member will occur within weeks.

Investigating the crimes of genocide is difficult in any context. Iraq remains a conflict zone filled with competing tensions. Genocide of minority groups has become a common feature of daily life in Iraq. Many Christians and Yazidis have expressed concern that while an investigation is a positive step forward, it does not address the underlying drivers which propel religious persecution.

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