Impunity for enforced disappearances in Iraq must end – UN Committee


A report published on Friday by the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearance in Iraq found a pattern of enforced disappearance and impunity persists in the country and noted that revictimization prevails in these cases.

The UN Committee stated on its findings that Iraq should incorporate the offence of enforced disappearances into domestic criminal legislation, and to ensure no person is held in secret detention.

The UN committee, composed of 10 independent experts, monitors States’ adherence to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The independent experts welcomed that Iraq set up two fact-finding committees, in 2016 and 2018, to address enforced disappearances in the country.

They also hailed the drafting of the Bill on the Protection of Persons from Enforced Disappearance, which is currently before the Council of Ministers.

But the experts also expressed concern at delays in adopting this legislation, which has fostered a lack of criminalization of the offence.

It recommended that Iraq revise the bill, in compliance with the International Convention, and in consultation with all stakeholders, including civil society.

Committee experts are also worried by the lack of reliable data on cases of enforced disappearance and the large quantity of unidentified bodies and mass graves.

The experts recommended Iraq establishes a consolidated nationwide database of all cases of disappearance that have occurred in the country since 1968.

For its part, the Committee said it has received allegations concerning around 420 secret detention sitesincluding in Camp Justice, Camp Honor, Jadriya bunker, al-Muthanna airport prison, Baghdad airport prison, and the city of JurfSakhar.

It urged the State party to investigate thoroughly the allegations, and to close any such facilities or convert them into regular registered and supervised detention centres, as well as to take all necessary measures to ensure that no one is detained secretly in the future.

The Committee recommends the government to take all necessary measures to ensure that deprivations of liberty are carried out only by officials authorized by law and that all persons deprived of liberty, including suspects of terrorism, have access to a lawyer. (Source: UN News)