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UN Resolution Major Step Toward Accountability in Iraq

Physicians for Human Rights says more must be done to hold all alleged war criminals to account

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today welcomed a United Nations Security Council resolution to create an investigative team to collect, preserve, and document evidence of potential war crimes committed by ISIS (also known as ISIL or the self-declared Islamic State) in northern Iraq.

“Investigating and prosecuting ISIS’s crimes requires the support of the international community, and today’s unanimous vote is an important step in that effort,” said PHR’s director of programs Dr. Homer Venters. “While the road to justice will certainly be long, this resolution begins paving the way toward holding ISIS perpetrators accountable and eventually achieving justice for those who’ve endured unspeakable brutality.”

Still, PHR said today that while the Security Council resolution focuses on crimes committed by ISIS, efforts also must be made to investigate violations of international law by all parties to the ongoing conflict across northern Iraq.

“True justice requires impartiality, and investigators should follow the facts and hold all perpetrators to account,” said PHR’s Venters. “Iraqi institutions and officials must also respect international human rights principles and comply with international law, particularly in the investigation, interrogation, and prosecution stages. With this resolution now in place, the international community must help Iraq improve its ability to conduct fair trials based on international standards, and the Iraqi government must fully implement its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

Throughout 2017, PHR has been engaged in a project to train health professionals, legal experts, forensic investigators, and other stakeholders in northern Iraq in properly gathering and preserving evidence of sexual violence, torture, and ill treatment.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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Kevin Short

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