Iraq News

UN team to begin probe of ISIS crimes in Iraq in early 2019

A UN team authorized over a year ago to investigate the massacre of the Yazidi minority and other atrocities committed in Iraq by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) will finally begin work early next year, the head of the investigation said Tuesday (December 4th).

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution in September 2017 to bring those responsible for ISIS war crimes to justice -- a cause championed by Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad.

The team, led by British lawyer Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, was deployed to Baghdad in October, but has since focused on administrative and technical details to lay the groundwork for the probe, AFP reported.

"The investigative team now looks forward to continuing preparations in Iraq with a view to commencing investigative activities in early 2019," Ahmad Khan told the council during his first report.

"The realization of our investigative activities is dependent on securing the co-operation, support and trust of all elements of Iraqi society," he said.

The UN has described the massacre of the Yazidis as possible genocide, and UN rights investigators have documented abuse suffered by women and girls.

Murad is among thousands of Yazidi women who were taken hostage and held as sex slaves when ISIS fighters swept into Iraq's Sinjar region in August 2014.

The investigators will gather evidence on war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide for use in Iraqi courts, according to the UN resolution.

The US announced it will provide $2 million to support the work of the investigative team, known as UNITAD, the UN investigative team to promote accountability for crimes committed by ISIS.

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