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Islamic State: Prosecutions

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL5931, tabled on 28 February 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answers by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 28 February, whether their current assessment of the ability of Iraqi legal capacity and expertise indicates that prosecuting Daesh fighters in their courts will be possible soon; and whether they are considering the possibility of UN-sanctioned regional tribunals, in the territories of Iraq and Syria, in order to prosecute Daesh fighters.

Answered on

14 March 2018

Daesh must be held accountable for their crimes. Daesh fighters – regardless of their nationality – should be brought to justice according to legal due process.

The Investigative Team established under UN Security Council Resolution 2379 will gather evidence of Daesh crimes, beginning in Iraq. The Terms of Reference for the UN Investigative Team have been agreed and I look forward to its deployment. The UK has contributed £1 million to support the establishment of this team. We are encouraging other States to contribute to it. The UK is funding a project that builds Iraqi organisations' capacity to document and present evidence of gender-based violence.

The Investigative Team will collect evidence of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to the highest standards and ensure the broadest possible use of evidence. Iraq will be the primary intended recipient of the evidence, but it can be used to support prosecutions elsewhere. It may be that some form of international or hybrid justice mechanism may be appropriate in the future, but it is too early – and not for the UK alone – to pre-determine that.

We are working with the Iraqi judiciary to build their capacity. The Resolution calls on member states to provide similar support. The UN will soon deploy a 'Needs Assessment Mission' to Iraq to determine where member states and the UN should target their capacity building.