Two former UN officials, who served in Iraq as head of the Human Rights Office in Iraq spoke about their experiences in the country and what the UN should have done in relation to the human rights violations in Iraq. They criticised the overall UN role in Iraq and at the end of their talks suggested that the whole UN presence in Iraq can be better replaced by appointing a Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iraq.
An expert lawyer focused on international criminal justice and he gave his perspective on how to proceed with regard to accountability of the crimes of aggression against Iraq. He also spoke about other war crimes perpetrated during the invasion and occupation and about achieving justice for the Iraqi people. He gave his insight about the UN Human Rights Council and was adamant about change on several levels.
This side event was held on the 25th of September, 2018 during the 39th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland. It was co-organized and co-sponsored by Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ) together with United-Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation. International Organisation for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD), International-Lawyers.Org along with other non-governmental organisations.
Mr. John Pace is the former Senior UN Human Rights/Humanitarian Official in Liberia, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Nepal. He was entrusted by the UN Secretary-General to undertake a number of missions, including ‘good offices’ missions to Nigeria, Cambodia and Kuwait. In recent years, he has focused on strengthening the protection of human rights and respect for the rule of law in conflict and post-conflict situations and the design of procedures and institutions for the protection of human rights.
Mr. Tahar Boumedra is the former UN Human Rights Chief of the UN Mission in Baghdad, and then as Advisor to the UNSG’s Special Representative for Iraq. He has a deep knowledge of the involvement of non-state actors in Iraq and in other Arab countries. Prior to his time in Iraq, he conducted training for Yemeni prison directors as part of a program of the Penal Reform International. As a result, he has an intimate knowledge of criminal justice system in Yemen.
Mr. Inder Comar is a U.S. lawyer and the Executive Director of Just Atonement, a legal non-profit dedicated to building peace and environmental sustainability. He is a recognized expert on international and U.S. law as it relates to crimes of aggression, immunity of high-ranking officials, and the war in Iraq. He represented Sundus Saleh in the case Saleh v. Bush et al. He has been actively involved in the only case yet filed in the US that questions the legality of the war in Iraq.
Ms. Daniela Donges is the President of Scales for Justice and is the former human rights officer at Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ).