Minister of Foreign Affairs “We Conveyed Burden and Effect of the Mass Graves Crimes Committed by the Former Regime on the Iraqi People to the International Community through Diplomatic Channels and International Forums

On 18/05/2022, the Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a ceremony on the occasion of the National Day of Mass Graves, at the Ministry’s headquarters.  Representatives of the Prime Minister, the President of the Republic, the Speaker of Parliament, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the director of mass graves in the Kurdistan Region, representatives of the Ministries of Interior and Justice, the President of the Institution of Political Prisoners, the President of the Martyrs Foundation, a number of ambassadors, and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Baghdad have attended the ceremony.

During the ceremony, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fuad Hussein delivered a speech in which he affirmed that on this day we remember thousands of our righteous martyrs who were subjected to the worst forms of violations and persecution and were buried in mass graves throughout Iraq, adding “their great sacrifices were the key to change and the beginning of a new era in Iraq in which the dignity and rights of Iraqis is preserved in a democratic environment that lays the foundations for a new stage through which Iraq rises with the help of its women and men, and for the sake men and women and their families we gather today, and we bow in homage to those sacrifices, and we have a great determination not to repeat these tragedies again.

The Minister stated that Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs worked in the new era, based on its duty in accordance with the constitution and government programmes, to convey the burden and effect of these crimes on the components of the Iraqi people, and to transfer those painful human images to the international community, through diplomatic channels and relevant international forums. These significant diplomatic efforts have been consisted of many forms through the cooperation with relevant countries and international organisations to reach tangible results on the ground that would realise the necessary justice for our people in order to stop the bleeding of those wounds, and to move forward in the process of building the state institutions and preserving the homeland, adding “We highly appreciate those who have stood by us, especially in the difficult circumstances, namely the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the International Investigation Team on ISIS Crimes (UNITAD), as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs chairs the National Coordination Committee with the international team, which in turn sponsors this committee meetings and meets regularly to discuss issues related to support its efforts for the success of its mission of supporting the local efforts to hold ISIS accountable and prosecute its members for the crimes they committed that amount to crimes of genocide under UN Security Council Resolution No. 2379 of 2017, as well as the role of the international team to collect and preserve evidence.

 He commended the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross and its cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, confirming that this cooperation will continue effectively, especially since the International Committee of the Red Cross undertakes several tasks in Iraq, and there is always high commendation for the cooperation shown by the Iraqi government and its relevant institutions.

He also commended the cooperation of the International Committee for Missing Persons (ICMP) with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other Iraqi authorities, which has began its work in Iraq since 2005, opened its office in Baghdad in 2009, and in Erbil in 2010. This cooperation included preparing programmes and workshops to train Iraqi experts and specialists on modern techniques on opening mass graves and taking samples, preserving and analysing them. The ICRC is also working in cooperation with the relevant Iraqi authorities to open mass graves in order to close this file permanently as soon as possible, after the number of employees who participated in the training programmes amounted to 550 employees from different Ministries and government institutions.

In conclusion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed that the Ministry exerts such ongoing diplomatic efforts in order to realise the highest human justice for the victims, and to compensate their families for the tragedies and deprivations they have suffered. The Ministry is keen that such violations will not be repeated in the future, the Iraqi citizen lives in an atmosphere of peace and security and respect for his rights to be an active partner and a decision-maker in the political life.