Today’s vote in the Security Council is a very important step towards holding Da’esh accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Inhumanity has been the essence of the horrific offences perpetrated by Da’esh in its cruel ideology. Few times in history have we seen such deliberate and systematic acts of murder, kidnapping, suicide bombing, sexual violence, enslavement, the persecution of religious minorities and the destruction of cultural heritage. I salute the courage of the Iraqi people, who have made a huge sacrifice in the war on terror. I also praise the commitment of the Iraqi authorities to upholding the rule of law.
It was in the land of ancient Mesopotamia that the world was given its first written laws — the Code of Hammurabi. In the words of King Hammurabi, it was intended “to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers so that the strong should not harm the weak”. However, no one today is seeking an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, as in the old days of Hammurabi. We voted in favour of resolution 2379 (2017) to help achieve something more difficult — to eradicate impunity by law alone. That is accountability. At the same time, accountability means rejecting the temptation of revenge and retribution — for example, the risk of collective punishment outside of the law for entire families associated with Da’esh. That would not help our cause of upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We voted in favour of the resolution to support our Iraqi partners in investigating the atrocious crimes committed and in ensuring that the law is enforced and violations sanctioned swiftly. In fact, the fear of being caught is often a more powerful deterrent than the punishment itself. Therefore, we stand with Iraq in telling anyone who has joined or will join the cause of terror that they will be identified and that there will be serious consequences for their actions. We also stand with the victims and their families, who have suffered great pain and are still facing a huge humanitarian crisis because of Da’esh.
For all these reasons, Italy will do everything it can to ensure the success of the new investigative team and its special envoy. As Council members know, Italy is a close partner of Iraq in the Global Coalition against Da’esh. We have helped train around 30,000 Iraqi military and police personnel. Many of those police officers have also been trained in anti-terrorism investigation to guarantee security, public order and the rule of law.
We are entering a new phase of cooperation with Iraq. We are winning the war on terror militarily, but where terrorism has left destruction and hatred we cannot win the peace without a long-term commitment to stabilization, inclusive political dialogue, reconciliation and accountability in the eyes of the law. Therefore, I believe that today’s resolution is an important decision in the right direction, because the law is the pillar of our societies. Anyone who subjects other humans to acts that are less than human offends humankind and spreads insecurity in our international order, founded on the principle that respect for the law is the safeguard of human rights and fundamental liberties.