The UN Security Council must refer Syria to the ICC

Paris, 13 May 2014 – The UN Security Council is discussing a resolution proposed by France to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). A vote on the resolution is expected on Friday 16 May.

In light of the emergency to at last fight the prevailing impunity at the core of the Syrian conflict, FIDH calls on the Security Council (UNSC) to comply with its responsibility to uphold international peace and security : the UNSC must adopt a strong resolution that condemns international crimes committed by all parties and aims at fighting against impunity in Syria by referring the situation to the ICC. 

« Given the lack of political will of Bachar Al Assad’s regime, the lack of capacity and independence of the national justice, as well as the need to meet the international criminal law standards, a referral of the situation to the ICC is the most legitimate framework to seek justice and accountability for victims », declared Patrick Baudouin, FIDH Honorary President and coordinator of FIDH Litigation Action Group.

« Russia and China should not delay the accountability process and its expected deterrence effect, nor should they oppose the adoption of the resolution », added Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. « History will remember States who oppose justice in a war that caused the death of more the 150 000 persons », he concluded. 

FIDH calls upon the UNSC member states to agree on a strong text that provides for effective implementation and follow-up by the UNSC, including regarding issues of cooperation with the ICC.

FIDH recalls that human rights violations have been documented by independent civil society organisations, including by local and international human rights groups, since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, as well as by the UN. In 2014, the international Commission of inquiry on Syria concluded that gross human rights violations, violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and crimes against humanity were committed in Syria by Government forces and affiliated militias, in particular murder and torture, unlawful killings, indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations and acts of sexual violence. The Commission also stated that non-state armed groups committed war crimes, including murder, torture, hostage-taking, violations of international humanitarian law, rape, and recruitment and use of children in hostilities. 

For more information, read our Q&A on the challenges of the fight against impunity in Syria.

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