Press release: Iraq Human Rights Commission meets with Cherif Bassiouni to develop investigation strategy for human rights violations

(Siracusa, Italy) 10 December 2014 - The Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR) together with the International Institute of Higher Studies in Criminal Sciences (ISISC) and UNOPS concluded an eight-day seminar to develop standard procedures for fact-finding and investigation of human rights violations in Iraq, coinciding with Human Rights Day.

The Board of Commissioners highlighted the importance of these procedures to enable them to fulfill their mandate under Law No. 53 of 2008 and the Iraqi Constitution, which establishes the Human Rights Commission under the Paris Principles of Independence for National Human Rights Institution.

Professor Cherif Bassiouni, President of ISISC, discussed related experiences from other national enquiry commissions such as the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry. Experts presented best practices and challenges from Gaza, Syria, Egypt and Darfur fact-finding missions and investigations, relating them to the IHCHR's role in Iraq.

Experts highlighted the critical role of the IHCHR in the fact-finding and investigation of human rights violations in Iraq, acknowledging the difficult security situation that the country is facing.

"The seminar was extremely useful for the IHCHR," says Dr. Nieves Molina-Clemente, Programme Manager for UNOPS. "Together, the group reflected on how best practices and experiences from other countries can be integrated into the IHCHR's mandate, given Iraq's own challenges and resources."

As a result, the IHCHR will adopt standard procedures to fact-finding and investigation of human rights violations in Iraq. The IHCHR has resolved to convene an additional seminar with experts to develop standard procedures for witnesses and victims protection.

This seminar was conducted as a part of the EU-funded project, "Capacity Building of the Human Rights related Committees in the Council of Representatives and the Independent High Commission for Human Rights in Iraq". In its role, UNOPS is responsible for enhancing the capacity of relevant human rights committees in the Council of Representatives and providing direct support to the IHCHR over a two-year period.

During the closure of the seminar, the Board of Commissioners read a statement on the occasion of the celebration of the Human Rights day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 December as Human Rights Day in 1950, to bring to the attention 'of the peoples of the world' the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Iraq's human rights situation has worsened since January 2014, with over 2.1 million internally displaced persons and increased armed conflict within the country.

For Press Inquiries, please contact: Nieves Molina-Clemente | Programme Manager, Human Rights,, Tel: +964 780 195 8814