Sierra Leone Statement at the UN Security Council briefing on On The United Nations Investigative Team For Accountability Of DA’ESH/ISIL” (UNITAD)


Mr. President, 

Sierra Leone takes this first opportunity to congratulate, You, and the Republic of Korea on assuming the presidency of the United Nations Security Council. I assure you, on behalf of the delegation of Sierra Leone, of our support. 

In a similar light, we commend and congratulate Mozambique on their successful presidency of the Council for the month of May (2024) and recognize the important work done. 

 With respect to our meeting, let me also thank Ms. Ana Peyró Llopis, Acting Special Adviser and Head of the Investigative Team established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2379 (2017), for her comprehensive briefing on the team’s twelfth report.

I welcome the participation of Permanent Representative Iraq in this meeting. 

As this is our first statement on this agenda item in the Security Council, we wish to emphasize at this point, the importance of accountability for atrocity crimes and to end impunity. We therefore express our strong support for the work of the UNITAD team. We are committed to prioritizing accountability efforts throughout our term on the Security Council and commend UNITAD’s efforts since its mandate began in 2017. We also take note of the commitment of Iraq to working with UNITAD.

Sierra Leone’s welcomes the positive developments, including steps taken by the Government of Iraq, to investigate and document crimes by Da’esh in Iraq, to hold them accountable and to ensure justice for the victims and the society at large. We also urge the Iraqi government to continue to implement robust reforms in the security and justice sectors as we look forward to sustained action in adopting appropriate national legislation and regulatory mechanisms, to ensure the rule of law now and post-UNITAD.

In line with our commitment to international law and accountability, Sierra Leone would like to make the following three points:

Firstly, we note the assessment provided by the Acting Special Adviser regarding the drawdown and liquidation plans and commend the Investigative Team for their efforts in documenting and investigating heinous crimes in Iraq over this period. 

While expressing our support for UNITAD’s efforts, we also recognize the potential risks associated with unaddressed mutual assistance requests from third-party national authorities and the significant impact this could have on future investigations and prosecutions of crimes committed by ISIL/Da’esh. Addressing these challenges is crucial to ensure that crimes committed by ISIL/Da’esh are prosecuted in accordance with international law and the rule of law.

Secondly, accountability and justice are also crucial for preventing atrocities and establishing lasting peace. We commend UNITAD for investigating and documenting crimes by Da’esh in Iraq and urge the Iraqi government to adopt relevant national legislation to ensure adherence to the rule of law post UNITAD. 

Sierra Leone is of the firm view that accountability mechanisms such as UNITAD, provide a legacy of transparency, trust, and stability, ultimately leading to a more peaceful and prosperous society. The government of Iraq must ensure sustained actions in giving a voice to the victims of Da’esh, including the women and children who were subjected to horrific sexual violence.  

Thirdly, we also welcome the review and assessment of the Acting Special Adviser and Team. We note that with the proper, orderly, and consistent implementation of this plan, the Investigative Team will successfully fulfill its mandate by the September 2024 expiration date. 

The unified repository of digitized information of evidence gathered by the Investigative Team of UNITAD is a welcome development. The government of Iraq interested parties, as well as other member States, must have access to this digital repository, guided by established parameters of United Nations policies and best practice and relevant international law, rules and standards regarding the sharing of evidence. 

In this regard, we commend the Team’s transparent engagement with the government of Iraq and relevant UN departments and stakeholders, emphasizing the importance of documenting, preserving and managing both evidentiary and non-evidentiary materials.  Storage and preservation of the materials of the Investigative Team post-UNITAD must be guided by the systems which have been put in place to not only maintain the integrity of the evidence, but to also protect the victims and information providers, who so bravely provided the facts and details during the investigations. The Investigative Team must also provide Iraqi authorities with adequate training in this regard. 

Mr. President, 

We emphasize the importance of regional and international cooperation to facilitate progress in Iraq and to also bring perpetrators of various crimes to justice. Long-term initiatives are also needed to promote reconciliation and prevent future violence. We can use UNITAD’s efforts in Iraq to advocate for future accountability measures in other countries as appropriate

 The lessons learned from UNITAD operations in Iraq are crucial as the country transitions from conflict to stability and prosperity. UNITAD has been instrumental in excavating mass graves, collecting and documenting evidence, and holding Da’esh members accountable for crimes against various groups in Iraq and neighboring communities.

  Considering this, the Iraqi government must pursue justice and accountability for historical transgressions while strengthening legal reforms and judicial infrastructure. The international community, including the UN field team, UNDP, and UN-Habitat, should continue to collaborate with Iraqi government on infrastructural and socioeconomic development.

In closing, Mr. President, the impact of terrorism in Iraq and the neighboring communities has caused significant harm, with women and children bearing the brunt of the suffering. Nevertheless, Iraqis must look ahead and maintain their unwavering commitment to building a safe, secure, and stable nation. 

 I thank you.

Recent News

Scroll to Top