OHCHR / IRAQ TRIALS

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28-Jan-2020 00:04:15
The UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) published a joint report on trials conducted under Iraq’s anti-terrorism laws. UNTV CH

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STORY: OHCHR / IRAQ TRIALS
TRT: 04:16
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 28 JANUARY 2020 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Wide shot, briefing room Palais des Nations Geneva
2. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“This morning a joint report by the UN assistance mission for Iraq and the UN Human Rights office has been published trials conducted under Iraq’s anti-terrorism laws. The report is based on independent monitoring of 794 criminal court trials of defendants mainly associated with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from 1 May 2018 through 31 October 2019. These were conducted with the full support of Iraq’s High Judicial Council.”
3. Wide shot, journalists
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR): “The joint report recognizes the consideralble efforts taken to insure accountability for the atrocities committed by ISIL fighters, yet raise serious concerns about unfaitr trials placing defendants at a serious disadvantage.”
5. Med shot, journalists
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“It acknowledged that judicial proceedings against ISIL defendants have generally been conducted in an orderly manner, have been well organized, and judges have been routinely prepared with investigation files.”
7. Wide shot, briefing room
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The report however finds, that violations of fair trial standards have placed defendants at a serious disadvantage compared to the prosecution – with ineffective legal representation and limited possibilities to present or challenge evidence.”
9. Close up, jounalist
10. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“It also states that the over-reliance on confessions, with frequent allegations of torture that were inadequately addressed – while constituting a human rights violation in itself – have further added to the concerns.”
11. Med shot, jounalist
12. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“Prosecutions under the anti-terrorism legal framework mainly focused on ‘membership’ of a terrorist organization, without distinguishing between those who participated in violence, committed international crimes, and those who joined ISIL for survival and/or through coercion.”
13. Med shot, jounalists
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet states “A fair and just criminal justice system is a central element to the democratic way of life, and key to building trust and legitimacy, and promoting and protecting human rights. Those responsible for widespread atrocities against the Iraqi population must be held to account for their crimes, and it is important that the victims see that justice is delivered. At the same time, those accused have the right to a fair trial, and these standards must be strictly applied.”
15. Med shot, camerman
16. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The report calls on judicial authorities to conduct a thorough review of trial and sentencing practices with a view to strengthening criminal justice procedures, in line with the Constitution of Iraq and the State’s obligations under international law.”
17. Med shot, podium
18. SOUNDBITE (English) Jeremy Laurence Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR):
“The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, states that ‘Robust safeguards for detention, due process and fair trials not only demonstrate commitment to justice, they are a necessary building block for resilience.’ She says ‘We are well aware that a variety of grievances, including unfair trials and detainee abuse, have been exploited in the past by ISIL to fuel its violent agenda.’”
19. Various shots, reporters

STORYLINE:

The UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Human Rights office (OHCHR) published a joint report on trials conducted under Iraq’s anti-terrorism laws.

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Jeremy Laurence briefed reporters in Geneva today (28 Jan) on the UN joint report.

He said, “this morning a joint report by the UN assistance mission for Iraq and the UN human Rights office has been published trials conducted under Iraq’s anti-terrorism laws. The report is based on independent monitoring of 794 criminal court trials of defendants mainly associated with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) from 1 May 2018 through 31 October 2019 These were conducted with the full support of Iraq’s High Judicial Council.”

Laurence said, “the joint report recognizes the consideralble efforts taken to insure accountability for the atrocities committed by ISIL fighters, yet raise serious concerns about unfaitr trials placing defendants at a serious disadvantage “

The spokesperson continued, “it acknowledged that judicial proceedings against ISIL defendants have generally been conducted in an orderly manner, have been well organized, and judges were routinely prepared with investigation files.”

The report however finds that “violations of fair trial standards have placed defendants at a serious disadvantage compared to the prosecution – with ineffective legal representation and limited possibilities to present or challenge evidence.”

It also states that “the over-reliance on confessions, with frequent allegations of torture that were inadequately addressed – while constituting a human rights violation in itself – have further added to the concerns.”

Laurence also noted that “prosecutions under the anti-terrorism legal framework mainly focused on ‘membership’ of a terrorist organization, without distinguishing between those who participated in violence, committed international crimes, and those who joined ISIL for survival and/or through coercion.”

In a statement reading by Laurence, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet states “a fair and just criminal justice system is a central element to the democratic way of life, and key to building trust and legitimacy, and promoting and protecting human rights. Those responsible for widespread atrocities against the Iraqi population must be held to account for their crimes, and it is important that the victims see that justice is delivered. At the same time, those accused have the right to a fair trial, and these standards must be strictly applied.”

The report calls on “judicial authorities to conduct a thorough review of trial and sentencing practices with a view to strengthening criminal justice procedures, in line with the Constitution of Iraq and the State’s obligations under international law.”

Laurcen also noted that the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Iraq Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert stated that “Robust safeguards for detention, due process and fair trials not only demonstrate commitment to justice: they are a necessary building block for resilience. She says, ‘We are well aware that a variety of grievances, including unfair trials and detainee abuse, have been exploited in the past by ISIL to fuel its violent agenda.’”
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