UN: ICJ alarmed at lasting impunity for crimes under international law in Syria

The ICJ expressed concern at the prevailing impunity for most serious crimes under international law in Syria and, before the UN Human Rights Council, called on UN Member States to act to ensure accountability.

The statement reads as follows:

“Madam President,

The ICJ notes with profound concern the latest report of the Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Syria, which concludes that the human rights situation has worsened over the past year for many Syrians. We call upon this Council and its Member States to support and implement the COI’s recommendations, alongside any other recommendations made by the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) and the UN Special Envoy for Syria.

Against a background of more than a decade of prevailing impunity for the most serious crimes under international law, the ICJ underscores the crucial importance of seeking accountability by searching for, apprehending, prosecuting and punishing those responsible for the atrocities committed in Syria.

The ICJ salutes the recent universal jurisdiction developments in Europe. In Germany, the Higher Regional Court of Koblenz’s conviction of a former Syrian official for crimes against humanity is a significant breakthrough in the fight for justice for victims and survivors of gross human rights violations in Syria.

Nonetheless, impunity continues to prevail at the highest levels, as illustrated by President Bashar al-Assad’s trip to Russia last week. Madam President, in the deplorable, persistent absence of a referral to the International Criminal Court, how can we make international law a more effective tool of accountability and deterrence?

Thank you.”


Massimo Frigo, ICJ UN Representative, e: massimo.frigo(a)icj.org, t: +41797499949

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