|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Briefing on UNITAD|
At the outset, I would like to congratulate you on your assumption of Presidency of the Council for this month. I trust that under your excellent stewardship, the Council’s work this month will be a huge success. The Chinese delegation will render you full cooperation. I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mexico on their excellent job done as President of the Council last month. Mr. President, I thank Special Adviser Mr. Ritscher for his first briefing at the Council and welcome the PR of Iraq to the meeting today.
ISIL committed appalling atrocities in Iraq. Its remnants are still making waves now. It is of great significance for the UN to collect evidence of the crimes of ISIL at the request of the Iraqi Government and to assist Iraq's accountability efforts on the premise of respecting Iraq's judicial sovereignty. It means a lot for the efforts to combat terrorism and to uphold justice.
According to the report of the Special Adviser, in the past few months, UNITAD had has overcome challenges of the pandemic and has resumed normal operations. It has completed case brief in relation to its investigation into the mass executions at Badush prison of Mosul. Its investigation into the alleged development and use of biological and chemical weapons by ISIL has also made some initial headway. It possesses an increasing amount of evidence of ISIL’s crimes. China commends these achievements. UNITAD’s extensive use of new technologies in evidence collection is a showcase for the use of science and technology to improve work effectiveness in counter-terrorism.
At the same time, regrettably, despite UNITAD’s more than three years’ operations, large amounts of evidence in its hands have yet to lead to concrete results in the accountability of terrorists. Resolution 2379 explicitly stipulates that the Iraqi Government is the primary recipient of criminal evidence. Setting preconditions for the transfer of evidence will not contribute to speedily bringing terrorists to justice. China welcomes UNITAD’s sharing information with Iraq on its investigative findings about the finance of ISIL, and hopes that UNITAD can start a comprehensive and systematic transfer of evidence to Iraq as soon as possible. To share information collected in Iraq with other member states, UNITAD should have consent from Iraq and follow the principles of transparency and non-discrimination.
During the reporting period, UNITAD continued its close cooperation with the Iraqi Government. Since assuming his post, the Special Adviser has engaged widely with relevant parties in Iraq. The number of Iraqi personnel in UNITAD continued to rise. These are all welcome developments. We support UNITAD in maintaining good cooperation with the Iraqi Government and its continued assistance with capacity building needs of the Iraqi Government in, inter alia, evidence collection and digitalization. At the request of the Iraqi Government, UNITAD could also support Iraq's trials of relevant cases. In so doing, it should fully respect the judicial sovereignty of Iraq.
UNITAD is a temporary and transitional arrangement for the UN to support Iraq's accountability efforts. It should not become a permanent body. Its May report this year contained some preliminary ideas about the completion strategy. China hopes that in its next report UNITAD can flesh out the strategy for the Council's deliberation.
Terrorism is a real threat to all. Countries should uphold true multilateralism, abandon geopolitical considerations and ideological biases, and join forces to combat all terrorist organizations listed by the Council. Along with the rest of the Council, China stands ready to continue to advance international counter-terrorism cooperation.
I thank you, Mr. President.