The ICJ today called on the governments of Syria and Russia to cease all attacks on the civilian population in Eastern Ghouta.
Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population and civilian objects, including hospitals, constitutes a war crime.
All those responsible for such crimes must be held accountable.
“The UN Security Council is blatantly failing to discharge its primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. It’s so paralyzed by division that it cannot even enforce its own resolutions on protecting the civilian population in Syria and ensuring unimpeded humanitarian access,” said Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme.
“After 7 years of shielding the Syrian regime from accountability for its egregious crimes, including the use of chemical weapons, Russia is joining forces with this regime’s cynical enterprise to murder and starve its own people,” he added.
The air and artillery bombing campaign conducted by the Syrian government, with the backing of Russia, have caused hundreds of victims since Sunday.
The destruction of hospitals and the lack of basic supplies and medicines are making the living conditions of the civilian population extremely dire.
Under international humanitarian law, the Syrian government and its ally Russia have obligations to protect the civilian population and to grant rapid and unimpeded passage to humanitarian relief for the residents of Eastern Ghouta.
The UN Security Council imposed a disarmament plan concerning the Syrian chemical arsenal, yet credible reports of government use of chemical weapons against civilians continued to emerge as late as January and February 2018, in particular in Eastern Ghouta and Saraqeb.
In its last report in October 2017, the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism established the responsibility of the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons.
In the same month, Russia vetoed a resolution to renew the Mechanism’s mandate.
“States must act individually and collectively to stop the escalation of horrors we are witnessing in Eastern Ghouta. They must also ensure, including through any means available in their national legal systems, as well as at the regional and international level, that all those responsible for the war crimes, crimes against humanity and other international crimes committed in Syria, irrespective of their nationality, rank or status, are brought to justice,” Benarbia added.
Said Benarbia, Director of the ICJ Middle East and North Africa Programme, tel: +41 798783546, e-mail: said.benarbia(a)icj.org
Syria – Ghouta Bombing – News – Webstory – 2018 – ARB (Arabic translation in PDF)NewsWeb stories