Minister Yesilgöz-Zegerius concludes agreements on the exchange of information regarding ISIS terrorists and war criminals

Bringing ISIS terrorists and war criminals to trial has a high priority for the Netherlands. Sound evidence gathering is essential for this purpose. A lot of this evidence can be found in the place where the crimes were committed and people were victimised. Minister of Justice and Security Yesilgöz-Zegerius today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Christian Ritscher, the United Nations special advisor (Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL or UNITAD).

UNITAD investigates among other things serious crimes, such as crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by ISIS.  UNITAD makes the evidence gathered available for national prosecution and trial. The conclusion of an MoU makes it easier for the Netherlands to exchange information for investigations into international crimes. This increases the chances of detecting and prosecuting crimes committed by ISIS.

“Terrorist acts and serious international crimes must not go unpunished. People who knowingly and willingly left our country to join a fight aimed at the destruction of our freedom.  Or people who sought refuge in the Netherlands after they committed serious breaches of international law. These people must not evade their punishment. Intensive cooperation with UNITAD and the Dutch Public Prosecution Service and the police among others brings the desire for justice one step closer. Victims deserve that the offenders are brought to justice.”,

according to Yesilgöz-Zegerius.

Sound gathering of evidence is important to the prosecution of ISIS terrorists. The Minister therefore visited UNITAD in Baghdad in May 2022. Then conclusion of a bilateral agreement was discussed during the visit. The agreements that have now been concluded make it easier for the police and the Public Prosecution Service to assess on a case-by-case basis whether international law permits them to share relevant information with UNITAD. 

In addition to simplifying the current form of cooperation, the MoU also sends an important signal that we strive to continue and expand the cooperation. The Netherlands wishes to conclude a Convention in the future in order to leverage the possibilities for cooperation with UNITAD even more and to be able to make an active contribution to the evidence database of UNITAD among other parties.