Speech by Minister Blok at press conference ‘Accountability for atrocity crimes committed by Daesh’ at UNGA

Speech by Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok at the press conference on ‘Accountability for atrocity crimes committed by Daesh’ flagship event at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

Ladies and Gentleman,

Thank you all for joining us here today, amidst the turmoil of a traditionally busy week at the UN.

I stand before you with minister al-Hakim from Iraq to talk about justice.

More precisely: Justice after ISIS.

Members of ISIS have enslaved people. They split families. Sold women…

They kidnapped. They raped. They executed. 

They used men, women and children as human shields.

We need to send a strong signal to the perpetrators.

A signal that they will not be allowed to get away with the atrocities they

Let me be rystal clear: impunity is not an option.

I spoke with Nobel Price laureate Nadia Murad this week. 

My perseverance has never been stronger: we need to achieve justice for victims like Nadia.

That’s what it’s all about. 

From evidence gathering to prosecution.

That is why my esteemed colleague minister Al-Hakim and I hosted a meeting on accountability for crimes committed by ISIS today, in the United Nations headquarters here in New York.

UNITAD, UNAMI, IIIM, Ms Clooney and many participating states contributed to the
discussion, France, Sweden, to name a few.

The work of UNITAD and IIIM is indispensable to ensure that the crimes of ISIS do not go unpunished and that we can have court cases that will shine a spotlight on the horrible crimes committed. 

The nterventions of all participants had one clear message in common: we all, once gain, underlined the importance of accountability. 

But e did not shy away from the complexity of the issue at hand. There are any different elements and differences we have to take into account.

There's no quick fix.

We heard many voices today reiterating the importance of accountability. 

We heard voices advocating international prosecution and voices in favour of national prosecution.

But we all had one overarching goal in common: all key stakeholders present stressed our joint responsibility to prevent impunity for the most serious crimes. 

Now, we have to make sure that we follow up on this and ensure that the initiatives complement each other. 

We have to ensure we live up to international human rights standards and international humanitarian law. Only then will justice be served.

I trust that our meeting today sparked a renewed sense of urgency and a clear roadmap for fighting impunity and working towards a solution for justice.

We, for our part, will relentlessly continue to pursue this matter. 

The Netherlands has unique legal expertise in matters concerning international justice. And we are willing to share it with the international community. 

We will work behind the scenes, and with Iraq, to bring the options we talked about today to the next level. 

Accountability for the heinous crimes committed by ISIS is after all a collective responsibility. 

And we need to tackle that together.

Thank you.