In a letter that will be presented next Monday 14 January to the President of the Security Council of the United Nations (UNSC), Switzerland, jointly with more than 50 States from all over the world, including several members of the UNSC, will request the Security Council to refer the Syrian situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
“During two years, the international community has been unable to put an end to the cycle of violence and the daily commission of atrocious crimes in Syria. This infernal circle where the commission of crimes is nurtured by the prevailing impunity should be broken. The Swiss initiative could entail a dissuasive dynamic that must be supported by the largest number of States”, said Souhayr Belhassen, President of FIDH.
Since September 2011, the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria -mandated by the UN Human Rights Council- warned about the commission of crimes against humanity by governmental forces. Since then, serious crimes are being committed against the Syrian population. Progressively, violent fighting has increasingly opposed the forces of Bashar al-Assad and rebel groups. On 15 August 2012, the Commission of Inquiry established that war crimes and crimes against humanity had been committed in Syria. According the latest UN statistics, the conflict would have led to a toll of 60 000 victims in two years.
The letter that will be presented to the Security Council under the Swiss initiative observes that the government of Bashar al-Assad has “not reacted to repeated calls from the international community to ensure accountability through a national procedure which needs to be credible, fair and independent in order to bring all perpetrators of alleged serious crimes to justice”.
FIDH considers that the ICC has a key role to play in the resolution of the Syrian conflict and must complement the international mediation efforts. “Peace in Syria can only be effective if those most responsible for the most serious crimes -whatever their affiliation- face justice. The future of Syria can only be built on a strong fight against impunity” declared Souhayr Belhassen.
“The ICC must intervene to ensure that victims find justice and that perpetrators of the most serious crimes are prosecuted. A referral to the ICC would entail the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of serious international crimes regardless of whether they fight on the government or the rebel side" said Patrick Baudouin, Honorary President of FIDH.
FIDH calls all States to join the Swiss initiative and the 15 members of the Security Council to immediately adopt a resolution referring the Syrian situation to the ICC. Such a resolution -as suggested by the letter initiated by Switzerland would have a dissuasive effect and would send a strong message to all parties to the conflict for the respect of human rights and humanitarian law.