Syria: Justice and human rights should be central to discussions at Brussels conference

The victims and survivors of the mass atrocities committed in this conflict have the right to truth, reparations and justice.

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

MEDIA ADVISORY

3 April 2017

Syria: Justice and human rights should be central to discussions at Brussels conference

Spokespeople available

As representatives of the EU, UN, and numerous countries meet in Brussels for the conference “Supporting the future of Syria and the region”, Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions office called on them to ensure truth, reparations and justice for the victims of the conflict and their families:

“If a just and sustainable peace in Syria is to be achieved, leaders at the Brussels conference must ensure that accountability is at the centre of their discussions. The victims and survivors of the mass atrocities committed in this conflict have the right to truth, reparations and justice.

“This conflict has been raging for too many years with government forces and armed groups behaving as if there are no red lines. War crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed as civilians starved to death under siege while humanitarian convoys were blocked from reaching them, as civilians were indiscriminately targeted by airstrikes inside their houses and as thousands of prisoners were tortured and forcibly disappeared. The international community has a duty to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.”

For more information or to arrange an interview contact Alison Abrahams in Brussels on [email protected] +32 2 548 27 73 or +32 483 680 812

Background

A glimmer of hope for accountability for crimes in Syria emerged when the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that will help establish an independent investigative mechanism on Syria. The mechanism will have the ability to collect, store and analyse evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria, with the aim of criminal investigation and prosecution of suspected perpetrators. It aims to bring to justice all those suspected of committing human rights violations or crimes under international law. This mechanism now awaits funding before becoming operational.

By also enacting Universal Jurisdiction, countries all over the world have the ability to try, and prosecute those responsible for crimes under international law, even if the perpetrators were of foreign origins or the crime committed on foreign land. These crimes include war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, genocide, acts of terrorism and enforced disappearances. Many countries have enacted universal jurisdiction and several European states are investigating war crimes committed in Syria or Iraq.

On 15 March, Amnesty International launched a campaign for justice for Syria calling on the UN to ensure that it takes all steps necessary for the International Mechanism to be effective.