Still Waiting for an International Tribunal on ISIS
It would help Iraq restore the rule of law, deter future violence, and give victims a mechanism for redress and healing.
ISIS had a devastating impact on Iraq. From 2014 to 2017, the terrorist group wreaked havoc on the country, causing death, destruction, and the displacement of thousands of civilians. Five years later, Iraq is still emerging from the shadow of ISIS and there is a pressing need to restore security and justice. Throughout those years, many have called for the creation of an international tribunal, hoping to bring those perpetrators to justice. It’s not too late to start.
First, a tribunal would provide a mechanism for the victims of ISIS to obtain redress. During its reign of terror, ISIS committed many atrocities, including mass killings, sexual violence, and forced displacement. Many Iraqis suffered irreparable harm at the hands of the group and deserve justice. An international tribunal could help hold the perpetrators accountable and provide reparations to the victims.
Second, an international tribunal would send a powerful message to ISIS and other would-be terrorists. Establishing such a court would signal that the world will not tolerate their violation of global norms and that those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity will be held responsible for their actions. Such a message could help deter future acts of terrorism and promote global security.
Third, an international tribunal would help Iraq restore the rule of law. After years of conflict and instability, the country needs a robust, independent judicial system to ensure justice. By partnering with the international community to establish a tribunal, Iraq can demonstrate its commitment to upholding the rule of law and provide a framework for holding those who commit crimes accountable.
Critics of international tribunals often argue that they are expensive, time-consuming, and ineffective. While these concerns are valid, they are not insurmountable. If established in partnership with Iraq's existing judiciary, an international tribunal would help address concerns about cost and efficiency. Additionally, the tribunal could focus on the most egregious crimes committed by ISIS rather than attempting to address every violation of international law.
Establishing an international tribunal in post-ISIS Iraq would not be without its challenges, but the potential benefits are too great to ignore. By providing redress to the victims, deterring future acts of terrorism, and helping Iraq restore the rule of law, an international tribunal could play a crucial role in creating a safer and more just society in Iraq. It is time for the international community to support this important initiative and demonstrate its commitment to justice and security.
Beyond these benefits, establishing an international tribunal in post-ISIS Iraq could also help foster and expand the recovery and healing of the social cohesion of the communities devastated by ISIS. The traumatic effects of ISIS on the Iraqi people are far-reaching and long-lasting, and the consequences of the group's atrocities continue reverberating throughout society. Establishing an international tribunal would help provide closure to the victims and send a clear message that the international coalition did not only fight ISIS to serve the interest of their countries, but it was a global fight against the organized terrorism of ISIS.
The healing process requires more than just addressing the immediate needs of the victims and their families. It requires establishing a safe and just environment where individuals and communities can heal and rebuild their lives. An international tribunal can play a critical role in this process by providing an avenue for the survivors to share their stories and bear witness to the atrocities committed against them.
Furthermore, an international tribunal would serve as a crucial mechanism for holding accountable those responsible for the heinous crimes committed by ISIS. These crimes have caused significant harm to the Iraqi people, and the perpetrators must be held responsible for their actions.
OMAR MOHAMMED is a historian and citizen journalist from Mosul, Iraq, who documented life under ISIS through his blog ‘Mosul Eye.’
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