New UN Team Investigating ISIS Atrocities Raises Questions About Justice in Iraq and Beyond

Just Security, September 28, 2017

6 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2017

See all articles by Zachary D. Kaufman

Zachary D. Kaufman

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law; University of Houston Law Center; Boston University - School of Law; Yale University - Law School; Stanford Law School; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: September 28, 2017

Abstract

On September 21, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously passed resolution 2379 to pursue accountability for atrocity crimes perpetrated in Iraq by the Islamic State (also called ISIS, ISIL or Da’esh). The resolution, in paragraph 2, requests the UN Secretary-General "To establish an Investigative Team, headed by a Special Adviser, to support domestic efforts to hold ISIL (Da’esh) accountable by collecting, preserving, and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group ISIL (Da’esh) in Iraq . . . to ensure the broadest possible use before national courts, and complementing investigations being carried out by the Iraqi authorities, or investigations carried out by authorities in third countries at their request."

The desirability of such an investigative team is well understood. ISIS has perpetrated widespread and systematic murder, kidnapping, sexual violence (including forced marriage and sexual slavery), and destruction of cultural heritage. The creation of this investigative team is thus a welcome, even if belated, development. However, this initiative prompts questions about the body’s scope, use of evidence, comparison to Syria, and precedential value.

Keywords: Transitional Justice, United Nations, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Da'esh, Iraq, Syria, Genocide, War Crimes, Crimes against Humanity, Atrocities, Sexual Violence, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Burma, Rohingya, Sovereignty, Responsibility to Protect, International Court, Hybrid Tribunal

Suggested Citation

Kaufman, Zachary D., New UN Team Investigating ISIS Atrocities Raises Questions About Justice in Iraq and Beyond (September 28, 2017). Just Security, September 28, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3044527

Zachary D. Kaufman (Contact Author)

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