Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative

The Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI) is dedicated to bringing together Iraqi and international civil societies through concrete actions to build together another Iraq, with peace and Human Rights for all.

Iraq Alert: Breaking the Cycle of Division, Justice for all Iraqis

Displaced Iraqi civilians who fled from clashes are seen in the Old City of Mosul. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Report by PAX and Impunity Watch

This Alert addresses worrying trends observed in current stabilisation and transitional justice efforts in Iraq. As the military campaign against ISIS in Iraq reaches a critical stage, strategies to achieve justice for victims of grave human rights abuses tend to remain selective, ill adapted to local needs and disconnected from stabilisation and reconciliation efforts. In the international and national debate on accountability in Iraq, emphasis is placed on ISIS crimes, while abuses and crimes by other perpetrators are hardly on the agenda. Iraq’s recent history and its experience dealing with the legacy of the Baathist regime teaches us that perceptions of selective or victors’ justice are divisive, undermine peace and reconciliation efforts and could fuel new conflict.

 To break the vicious circle of distrust and violence, Iraq needs inclusive transitional justice, which addresses crimes and abuses regardless of the background or identity of the perpetrators and victims, and provides space for all affected communities and local stakeholders to shape policy. In this policy brief, PAX and Impunity Watch outline the trends observed in current stabilisation and justice efforts and propose the following key recommendations to address them:

 Put affected communities and victims first

• Iraqi authorities and the EU and UN bodies supporting them should prioritize inclusive transitional justice programs aimed at the participation and consultation of victims, affected communities and local civil society groups in justice efforts, without any discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, ethnicity, political affiliation or linguistic group

 Uphold victims’ rights:

• Address the needs of victims beyond trials and prosecutions, including through truth-seeking, reparations, guarantees of non-recurrence and other measures

 Link justice and reconciliation

• Reinforce synergies between initiatives which aim at justice, reconciliation and stabilisation, including those led by UN bodies, in order to prevent the development of separate competing tracks

 Coordinate transitional justice initiatives

• Members of the UN Security Council should debate the need for inclusive transitional justice in Iraq which would cover all grave human rights abuses in Iraq, for example by convening a side event to the UN General Assembly session with all relevant actors;

Please refer to the link for the full Alert with the complete recommendations, context analysis and contact details of PAX and Impunity Watch. We welcome any comments or feedback.

Read the full report: Iraq Alert PAX and IW July 2017