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C4JR online event on the ending of UNITAD’s mandate

May 13, 2024

Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR) online event on the ending of UNITAD’s mandate, with Yazda, IBAHRI, HRW, and Amnesty International: Thursday 23 May

Organised with: Yazda, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW), including remarks from Baroness Helena Kennedy, UNITAD’s Ana Peyró Llopis, Dr. Dindar Zebari and others.

Date: May 23, 2024, EU Day Against Impunity for Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes.

Time: 2-4pm UK time; 3pm- 5pm CET; 4-6pm Iraq time

When: May 23, 2024 04:00 PM Baghdad

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81052359763?pwd=UEFnZlRXUnZTSlgzSVhJU0NLMXFvQT09 

Save the date for C4JR’s online discussion in English (with simultaneous Arabic translation) to provide an overview of the UNITAD wind-down in Iraq, share reflections on the recent UNITAD road-map report and broader ending of the mandate, and discuss concerns and recommendations. Hosted in collaboration with Yazda, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW), the event will feature remarks from esteemed human rights lawyer Baroness Helena Kennedy and other influential voices in the field, presenting a critical opportunity to engage in conversations shaping justice and accountability, and from survivor communities themselves!

Further information: In March, C4JR published its latest report, “Iraqi Civil Society and Survivor Networks Position on the Request of Iraq to Terminate UNITAD’s Mandate in September 2024

After coming together to consider the implications of the premature closing of UNITAD and consulting with survivor networks, C4JR conveyed our views to the UN Secretary-General and UNITAD. Now UNITAD’s road-map report has been published, speakers will outline the concerns and recommendations of civil society organisations and survivor networks regarding Iraq’s request to the UN Security Council to not renew the mandate of UNITAD Iraq after September 2024. Expressing concern over the potential consequences of prematurely closing UNITAD, C4JR’s report emphasised the critical importance of justice and accountability for victims and affected communities. Survivor networks, in particular, fear that the absence of UNITAD will jeopardise efforts to hold ISIL members accountable for their atrocities.

  • Proposed agenda
    • Opening remarks:
      • Baroness Helena Kennedy
      • Presentation of the C4JR report, Hasan Jameel to represent C4JR
      • Panel discussion (moderated by Jahaan Pittalwala, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect):
      • Each starts with 5 min remarks followed by 2/3 questions each:
        • Yazda (Natia Navrouzov)
        • Yazidi Survivors Network (YSN)
        • Khalaf Sinjari, Advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister on Yazidi Affairs
        • UNITAD (Ana Peyró Llopis, Acting Special Adviser and Head)
        • Dr. Dindar Zebari, KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy
      • Remarks from Sarah Sanbar (HRW), Dr Ewelina Ochab (IBAHRI), Nicolette Waldman (Amnesty International) and Nadine Reiner (Lawyer at the Office of Amal Clooney)
      • An open Q&A to all moderated by Alannah Travers, for as long as time permits (30 mins +/-)

Key Qs: What do survivors want to happen with the evidence that UNITAD Iraq has collected on ISIL crimes in Iraq? What is the UNITAD-led completion roadmap promising? What is the current situation in Iraq, who can access UNITAD-collected evidence, and how? How can civil society engage with the Government of Iraq? What is the government hoping to achieve by ending the mandate? What are the C4JR-collected suggestions on the next steps?

Scheduled for May 23, 2024, coinciding with the EU Day Against Impunity for Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, the agenda includes presentations, panel discussions with key stakeholders, and an open Q&A session, all intended to provide a comprehensive overview of the UNITAD wind-down in Iraq, contextualised within the landscape of the country and situation of survivors of ISIL crimes, outlining crucial next steps. This event will be held online, with speakers from London, Iraq, and beyond…

Speaker biographies:

Baroness Helena Kennedy KC, Scottish barrister and Labour member of the House of Lords

Baroness Helena Kennedy is a distinguished British barrister, human rights advocate, and member of the House of Lords. Born and brought up in Glasgow, she is a member of the Bar, a King’s Counsel, a Bencher of Gray’s Inn, an Honorary Writer to the Signet and the recipient of 42 Honorary Degrees from many universities including those of Glasgow and Edinburgh in recognition of work on women and the law and on widening participation in higher education. She is renowned for her expertise in human rights law, civil liberties, and gender equality. Baroness Kennedy has contributed significantly to legal reform and social justice through her work on various high-profile cases and as a vocal advocate for marginalised communities- she led the recent Scottish Parliamentary Inquiry into Misogyny. She is President of Justice; the law reform think tank and is currently director of the International Bar Association’s Institute of Human Rights. She is President of the Helena Kennedy Foundation which gives bursaries to disadvantaged students. She is also a prolific author and has received numerous awards for her commitment to advancing human rights and the rule of law. 

Natia Navrouzov, Yazda Executive Director

Natia Navrouzov is Yazda’s Executive Director, a Yazidi-focused and global NGO established three weeks after the start of ISIS genocidal campaign against the Yazidi community in Sinjar.  

Natia is a French-qualified lawyer specialising in international law, human rights, and transitional justice. As a member of the Yazidi community, Natia has been instrumental in Yazda’s initiatives since joining in 2018. She holds various positions within the organisation, including Project Manager and Interim Country Director. In 2021, she was appointed as Yazda’s first Legal Advocacy Director. Under her leadership, Yazda collected testimonies of ISIS survivors and documented evidence from crime sites, and collaborated with international and national bodies, including the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability Against Da’esh Crimes (UNITAD), national war crimes units and the Office of Amal Clooney. Notably, her leadership played a key role in the conviction of several ISIS members in Germany, including for genocide against Yazidi victims. In 2019, Natia supported a group of Yazidi female advocates to establish the Yazidi Survivors Network (YSN) and campaigned with them for the passing of the Yazidi Survivors Law until its adoption in March 2021.

Before joining Yazda, Natia worked for a globally recognized law firm specialising in International Public Law and International Arbitration in Paris, as a Research Assistant at the London Court of Arbitration, and Assistant Lecturer at the Université of Panthéon-Sorbonne in Paris. Admitted to the Paris Bar, Natia holds a dual bachelor’s degree in German and French Law from the University of Cologne (Germany) and Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (France); she holds Master’s degrees in International Law from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Columbia University (USA), where she graduated as a Human Rights Fellow and Fulbright scholar, and was awarded the Davis Polk Fellowship. Natia is also an Obama Foundation Leader.

Hasan Jameel, Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR)

Hasan Jameel Khalid is a dedicated legal professional and humanitarian advocate based in Baghdad, Iraq. With a bachelor’s degree from the College of Law and Political Science at the University of Duhok, Hasan has over seven years of comprehensive experience in legal, humanitarian, and administrative roles.

Currently pursuing studies in Diplomacy at the Institute of Foreign Service within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq and at the same time working as the Criminal justice working group focal point at C4JR, Hasan has demonstrated strong leadership and coordination skills throughout his career. His areas of expertise encompass legal aid, protection, management, diplomacy, and advocacy.

Hasan’s professional journey includes significant roles such as Legal Coordinator and later as the Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR) Board Member, where he actively contributed to decision-making. Notably, he served as the Legal Task Force Coordinator for Duhok Governorate, leading advocacy initiatives and mapping legal protection concerns.

In addition to his legal roles, Hasan has been actively involved in community capacity-building, conducting workshops, and facilitating consultative sessions with government officials, Judges and Public prosecutors. Fluent in Kurdish, English, and Arabic, Hasan possesses excellent communication skills and a proactive approach to addressing legal and humanitarian challenges.

Ms. Ana Peyró Llopis, United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD)

Ms. Ana Peyró Llopis of Spain assumed her responsibilities as Acting Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD) on 1 April 2024. She brings over twenty years of experience in the field of international law, including roles in the United Nations and the Government of Spain.

Before joining UNITAD Ms. Peyró Llopis served as Principal Legal Officer of the Office of Legal Affairs of the United Nations. In this role, she was involved in the establishment and operationalization of UNITAD. She also served as

Acting Director of Legal Affairs of UNRWA. Prior to joining the United Nations, she held various academic positions at universities in Spain, France and the United States and engaged in research initiatives at a global level. She also served as Senior Legal Adviser at the Ministry of Justice of Spain.

She holds a PhD in International Law from the University of Paris (Panthéon-Sorbonne-France) and the University Jaume I (Spain), a postdoc in international law from New York University, and Master’s degrees in International Law and International Organizations (Panthéon-Sorbonne- France), Constitutional Rights and Duties (Jaume I-Spain), and National Defense (Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional-Spain). She speaks fluent Spanish, French, English and Italian.

Khalaf Sinjari, Advisor to the Iraqi Prime Minister on Yazidi Affairs

Dr. Dindar Zebari, KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy

Dr. Zebari is a steadfast supporter of human rights and a symbol of global diplomacy, with a career spanning many years devoted to improving conditions in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. With a varied background in government, education, and community activism, Dr. Dindar has made a lasting impact by shaping policies, encouraging dialogue, and fighting for the rights of marginalised groups. 

Since 2005, Dr. Dindar has held several important positions within the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), including Coordinator to the United Nations, Head of the High Committee to Evaluate and Respond to International Reports, and Deputy Head of the Foreign Relations Department. In these roles, he has played a key role in facilitating communication between local and international groups, ensuring that humanitarian duties are met, and addressing urgent human rights and governance issues with dedication. 

He has been serving as the Coordinator for International Advocacy at the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), since 2018. In this pivotal role, Dr. Zebari has been instrumental in shaping and advancing the region’s human rights practices, leveraging his profound knowledge of United Nations methods and programs, combined with his extensive legal and academic background.

Alongside his governmental work, Dr. Dindar has been deeply involved in education, teaching at the University of Salahaddin and conducting research on topics like international law and Kurdistan identity. His research has been widely praised for its thorough analysis and helpful suggestions for improving conditions in the Kurdistan Region. 

In addition to his official duties. Dr. Zebari has been an active participant in community organisations, working to raise awareness about human rights abuses, empower marginalised communities, and advocate for justice.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dindar has received many awards for his efforts to promote human rights and foster cooperation between nations. From praise by government officials to recognition from international groups, Dr. Dindar’s contributions have been celebrated locally and globally. 

Fluent in Kurdish, Arabic, English, and Persian, Dr. Dindar serves as a bridge between cultures, promoting understanding and collaboration on the world stage. His dedication to social justice, combined with their knowledge and experience, make them a powerful force for positive change in the Kurdistan Region and beyond, leaving behind a legacy of compassion, integrity, and progress. 

Sarah Sanbar, Human Rights Watch Iraq researcher

Sarah Sanbar is a researcher in the Middle East and North Africa division investigating human rights abuses in Iraq. She previously worked for the ICRC in the Protection of the Civilian Population unit, focusing on conflict and climate change, open-source investigations, and war crime prevention. Prior to joining ICRC, she worked as a Protection Specialist with the Danish Refugee Council and with Nonviolent Peaceforce in Iraq, where she focused on IDP protection and post-ISIS reconciliation. She has additional experience working with displaced populations in Jordan, Greece, and Palestine. Sarah holds a MA from King’s College London, a MA from SciencesPo Paris, and a BA from Claremont McKenna College.

Dr Ewelina Ochab, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)

Dr Ewelina U. Ochab is a lawyer, human rights advocate, and author. Dr Ochab is a programme lawyer with the IBA’s Human Rights Institute and co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response. Dr Ochab works on the topic of genocide, with a specific focus on the persecution of ethnic and religious minorities around the world, with main projects including the Daesh genocide in Syria and Iraq, Boko Haram atrocities in West Africa, the situation of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the Uyghurs in China, Tigrayans in Ethiopia, and the Hazara in Afghanistan. Dr Ochab further works on the issue of conflict-related sexual violence and the situation of children in conflict, including during Putin’s war in Ukraine. 

Nicolette Waldman, Amnesty International Senior Crisis Advisor

Nicolette Waldman is an international lawyer and investigator specialised in human rights and international humanitarian law. She is currently a senior crisis advisor with Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Programme. In 2019, she was a senior fellow and instructor with the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School. Between 2014 and 2018, she was based in Beirut, Lebanon, as a researcher for Amnesty International on Syria and Iraq. Previously, she worked with the Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC), the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, Save the Children, CARE International, and Human Rights Watch. Nicolette was a Fulbright scholar based in Amman, Jordan. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international affairs and English literature from Lewis & Clark College and a law degree from Harvard Law School.

Nadine Reiner, Lawyer at the Office of Amal Clooney

Nadine Reiner is a lawyer at the Office of Amal Clooney, specializing in international law and human rights. Nadine works on cases before international and national courts, advocating for accountability and justice in situations of genocide, widespread sexual violence, and other egregious human rights violations. Over the past four years, Nadine has been involved in precedent-setting human rights cases, including the world’s first and only trials in which ISIS members have been convicted of genocide against Yazidis as well as the first civil case in a U.S. court seeking to hold ISIS financiers responsible for supporting the terror group.

Prior to this role, Nadine was a lawyer at an international law firm in Germany, representing corporations in commercial litigation cases. She previously also worked at the World Bank, and European Commission, and a human rights organisation. Nadine is admitted to the German Bar.

Moderators:

Jahaan Pittalwala, Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Jahaan Pittalwala is a Research and Advocacy Officer at the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and Coordinator of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect. She conducts research on populations at risk of mass atrocities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Syria, and Yemen. She also supports the Global Centre’s various thematic programs and advocacy initiatives.

Jahaan holds a B.A. Hons in Peace, Conflict and Justice Studies from the University of Toronto and an M.A. in Human Rights and Humanitarian Action from Sciences Po Paris. Prior to joining the Global Centre, she has worked on international human rights issues at the International Federation for Human Rights and at Reprieve UK. Jahaan is fluent in English and proficient in French.

Alannah Travers, Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR)

Alannah Travers is a British-German journalist and consultant based in Iraq between 2021 and 2023. Her work focuses on politics and personal stories in Iraq – especially as it relates to issues of justice and accountability. She is the 2023 Silver Winner of the United Nations Correspondents Association Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize for reporting on humanitarian issues in Iraq. Over the past year, Alannah has supported the Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR), an alliance of Iraqi NGOs calling for comprehensive reparations for survivors of atrocities perpetrated during the ISIS conflict in Iraq, and is now pursuing an LLM in Human Rights, Conflict and Justice, in the UK.

C4JR’s report identifies six key concerns raised by civil society organizations and survivor networks:

  1. Raised expectations among survivors and Iraqi civil society organizations regarding UNITAD‘s establishment and its role in achieving justice.
  2. Iraq’s lack of readiness to prosecute core international crimes for which UNITAD collected evidence.
  3. Iraq has yet to comply with international law and UN principles, and UNITAD may not be able to hand over much of the evidence it has collected.
  4. UNITAD has not completed its work, including structured investigations, building a roadmap for using collected evidence, and finalizing excavation of mass graves.
  5. Preventing evidence sharing with third states will hinder the only justice avenue currently available to survivors.
  6. Specific concerns about the confidentiality and sharing of evidence with Iraqi authorities.

In light of these concerns, C4JR presents the following recommendations:

  1. Establish benchmarks for Iraq’s readiness to prosecute international crimes before closing UNITAD.
  2. Implement clear conditions for handing over evidence to Iraqi authorities, ensuring compliance with international law and safeguarding against misuse.
  3. Develop a legal framework for evidence sharing with third states or international courts.
  4. Create a residual mechanism within the UN system to preserve all evidence collected by UNITAD.
  5. Ensure that UNITAD‘s evidence benefits survivors beyond criminal proceedings, such as supporting reparations and truth-telling initiatives.

The full report can be downloaded in English here: https://c4jr.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/C4JR-report_ENG.pdf

The full report can be downloaded in Arabic here: https://c4jr.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/C4JR-report_AR.pdf

Please find a summary document of the report in English here: https://c4jr.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/C4JR-summary_ENG.pdf

Please find a summary document of the report in Arabic here: https://c4jr.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/C4JR-summary_AR.pdf

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The Coalition for Just Reparations (C4JR), with the support of IOM Iraq, is publishing regular newsletters on the Yazidi Survivors Law (YSL) in three languages. Check out the fifth newsletter now, in English, Arabic, and Kurdish...

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