posted on Thu 17 Sep 2020 4:25 PM
ISIL/Da’esh Accountability: Council to Renew the Mandate of UNITAD

Tomorrow (18 September), the Security Council president (Niger) is expected to announce the results of the written voting procedure on a draft resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), which expires on 21 September.

UNITAD was set up through resolution 2379 of 21 September 2017. The Council asked the Secretary-General to establish an investigative team to support Iraqi domestic efforts to hold accountable the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Da’esh/ISIL) for crimes it committed in the country “by collecting, preserving, and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide”. Additionally, the investigative team is responsible for promoting accountability globally for atrocity crimes committed by ISIL in order to counter ISIL narratives that have led people to join the terrorist group. UNITAD is headed by a Special Adviser, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, and formally began its work on 20 August 2018.

According to resolution 2379, further extensions of UNITAD’s mandate may be requested by Iraq “or any other government that has requested the Team to collect evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, committed by ISIL (Da’esh) in its territory”. In a 16 September letter to the Council president (S/2020/909), the Iraqi foreign minister requested the renewal of UNITAD’s mandate for another year.

It seems that the UK, the penholder on UNITAD, shared a first draft resolution with all Council members on 14 September. Negotiations took place via email; no meetings were held. It appears that none of the Council members had comments on the draft. On 16 September, the UK put a text under silence, which was not broken. The draft resolution was put in blue and the written voting procedure started today (17 September). A unanimous adoption is expected.

The draft resolution retains UNITAD’s mandate, as set out most recently in resolution 2490, and renews it until 18 September 2021. Two technical changes were made to the text: the preambular part references resolution 2490 and the operative part refers to the Iraqi letter requesting this year’s mandate renewal. One substantive paragraph was added in the operative part of the draft, in which the Council “requests the Secretary-General to align the term of the Special Adviser with the term of this mandate and to renew the Special Adviser’s term to 18 September 2021”. The Secretary-General appointed Khan on 31 May 2018 and the Iraqi government requested his reappointment for 12 months earlier this year. The draft resolution in blue aligns the terms of the Special Adviser with the term of UNITAD’s mandate.