On 22nd April 2016 the Bishop of Coventry, Rt Revd Christopher Cocksworth, received answers to three written questions of Government on the actions of Daesh and the Iraqi Government and international humanitarian law:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what conversations they have had with other members of the UN Security Council about referring the actions of Daesh against religious and ethnic minorities in Iraq to the International Criminal Court for further investigation. [HL7548]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We condemn in the strongest terms the targeting and persecution of Yezidis, Christians and other communities by Daesh. We continue to urge the Government of Iraq to do all it can to ensure the security and rights of all communities in Iraq. We are working with international partners, including members of the UN Security Council, to look at all options to ensure accountability for human rights abuses and violations committed in Iraq. Although the UN Security Council can refer situations to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor for investigation, we believe that any decision on further investigations must be made on the basis of what will be the most effective means of bringing perpetrators of atrocities to justice.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assurances they have sought from, and been given by, the government of Iraq that Iraqi security forces and affiliated militias involved in counter-Daesh efforts abide by international humanitarian law and are held
accountable for any violations thereof. [HL7550]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We consistently underline with the Government of Iraq and Kurdistan Regional Government the importance of ensuring that all security forces respect International Humanitarian Law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We are concerned by reports alleging that the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Security Forces, Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces and militias have committed human rights abuses and violations. Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi has committed to investigating allegations of human rights abuses and violations and holding those responsible to account. He has also consistently intervened in security operations to prevent civilian casualties and damage to property. The Kurdistan Regional Government has undertaken to investigate all allegations made against Kurdish Security Forces. The Kurdistan Regional President Masoud Barzani has recently issued a decree which emphasised the importance of the Kurdish Peshmerga abiding by international and national legal principles. We will continue to call on states and non-state actors engaged in armed conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law and act in accordance to their obligations under it.
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance, if any, they have provided to the government of Iraq to document and investigate reports of missing persons. [HL7549]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We have funded a project to support the victims of Daesh’s persecution and help them pursue justice. We will continue to look at all options to ensure accountability for human rights abuses and violations committed in Iraq. We have not provided any direct support to the Government of Iraq in relation to investigating reports of missing persons.