United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today announced the appointment of Christian Ritscher of Germany as the Special Adviser and Head of the United Nations Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (UNITAD), which was established pursuant to Security Council resolution 2379 (2017), to support domestic efforts to hold Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) accountable by collecting, preserving, and storing evidence in Iraq of acts that may amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed by the terrorist group ISIL (Da’esh) in Iraq.
Mr. Ritscher will succeed Karim Asad Ahmad Khan of the United Kingdom, who was the first Special Adviser of UNITAD and held the position from July 2018 until his resignation, effective 15 June 2021. The Secretary-General expresses his gratitude to Mr. Khan for his contributions towards the pursuit of accountability for crimes committed by ISIL/Da’esh and his efforts with regard to the speedy establishment and full functioning of UNITAD.
Mr. Ritscher previously served as a Federal Public Prosecutor at the German Federal Court of Justice, with more than 30 years of professional experience in international and domestic criminal law prosecutions and investigations. He was Head of the German War Crimes Unit S4, which is responsible for the prosecution and charging of individuals in Germany in relation to international crimes that may have been committed elsewhere, including in Iraq and Syria. This included prosecutions against alleged members of ISIL/Da’esh for genocide committed against the Yazidi community in Iraq in 2014, as well as other charges of international crimes.