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Justice for syrian atrocities

Richard Wainwright/Act For Peace

In the 3 years since it began the conflict in Syria has become the greatest humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. In this time both Syrian government forces and non-state armed forces have been committing atrocities with impunity against their own people. Neither side has taken any steps to hold perpetrators to account and there is no end in sight.

The Syrian people deserve justice for the crimes committed against them. Act for Peace has joined with more than 100 civil society groups across the world to issue the following statement to urge the United Nations Security Council to approve a resolution to refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court:

We, the undersigned civil society groups, urge United Nations Security Council members to approve a draft resolution supported by a broad coalition of countries that would refer the situation in Syria to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

More than three years into a conflict that has claimed well over 100, 000 lives, according to the United Nations, atrocity crimes are being committed with complete impunity by all sides in the conflict, with no end in sight. Neither Syrian authorities nor the leaders of non-state armed groups have taken any meaningful steps to ensure accountability for past and ongoing grave human rights crimes. The failure to hold those responsible for these violations to account has only fueled further atrocities by all sides.

Against this background, we believe the ICC is the forum most capable of effectively investigating and prosecutingthe people who bear the greatest responsibility for serious crimes and of offering a measure of justice for victims in Syria.

The latest report from the UN’s Syria Commission of Inquiry, published on March 5, also found that all sides to the Syria conflict continued to commit serious crimes under international law and held that the Security Council was failing to take action to end the state of impunity. The commission, which has published seven in-depth reports since its establishment in August 2011, recommended that the Security Council give the ICC a mandate to investigate abuses in Syria.

The need for accountability in Syria through the ICC has likewise been supported by more than 60 UN member countries, representing all regions of world, including 10 of the current members of the Security Council. We urge all Security Council members to heed this call for justice. Other countries should publicly support the draft resolution and warn Russia and China against using their veto power to obstruct accountability for violations by all sides.

As a permanent international court with a mandate to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity when national authorities are unable or unwilling to do so, the ICC was created to address exactly the type of situation that exists in Syria today. Though the court's work can be only one piece of the larger accountability effort needed in Syria, it is a crucial first step.

We therefore strongly urge Security Council members to urgently act to fill the accountability gap in Syria. The people of Syria cannot afford further disappointment or delay.

Co-signing organizations in alphabetical order:

  1. Action des Chrétiens pour l'Abolition de la Torture, France
  2. Amnesty International, Benin
  3. Advocates for Public International Law, Uganda
  4. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Egypt
  5. Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, Australia
  6. Act for Peace, Australia
  7. Arab Coalition for Sudan, Sudan
  8. Arab Program for Human Rights Activists, Egypt
  9. Arab-European Center Of Human Rights And International Law, Norway
  10. Arab Foundation for Development and Citizenship, United Kingdom
  11. Andalus Institute for Tolerance and anti-Violence Studies, Egypt
  12. Benin Coalition for the International Criminal Court, Benin
  13. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
  14. Campaña Colombiana Contra Minas, Colombia
  15. Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding, Liberia
  16. Child Soldiers International, United Kingdom
  17. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Belgium
  18. Club des Amis du Droit du Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo
  19. Coalition Ivoirienne pour la Cour Penale Internationale, Cote d'Ivoire
  20. Colombian Commission of Jurists, Colombia
  21. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization, South Sudan
  22. Conflict Monitoring Center, Pakistan
  23. Congress of National Minorities of Ukraine, Ukraine
  24. Comité Catholique Contre la Faim et Pour le Développement - Terre Solidaire, France
  25. Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos, Mexico
  26. CSO Network, Western Kenya
  27. Dawlaty Foundation, Lebanon
  28. Democracia Global, Argentina
  29. East Africa Law Society, Tanzania
  30. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt
  31. Elman Peace and Human Rights Center, Somalia
  32. Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
  33. FN-forbundet / Danish United Nations Association, Denmark
  34. Franciscans International
  35. Fundación de Antropología Forense, Guatemala
  36. Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Georgia
  37. Genocide Alert, Germany
  38. Global Solutions.org, United States
  39. Global Justice Center, United States
  40. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, United States
  41. Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Denmark
  42. Horiyat for Development and Human Rights, Libya
  43. Humanist Institute for Development Cooperation, The Netherlands
  44. Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo, Kosovo
  45. Human Rights First, United States
  46. Human Rights Watch
  47. International Justice Project, United States
  48. International Commission of Jurists, Kenya
  49. International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law, Nigeria
  50. International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, United States
  51. International Federation of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture, France
  52. International Center for Policy and Conflict, Kenya
  53. Insan, Lebanon
  54. Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights, United States
  55. Justice Without Frontiers, Lebanon
  56. Kenya Human Rights Commission, Kenya
  57. La Coalition Burundaise pour la Cour Penale Internationale, Burundi
  58. Lira NGO Forum, Uganda
  59. Ligue pour la Paix, les Droits de l'Homme et la Justice, Democratic Republic of Congo
  60. Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana
  61. Minority Rights Group International, United Kingdom
  62. National Youth Action, Inc., Liberia
  63. No Peace Without Justice, Italy
  64. Norwegian People's Aid, Norway
  65. Optimum Travail du Burkina, Burkina Faso
  66. Open Society Justice Initiative
  67. Pakistan Body Count, Pakistan
  68. PAX, The Netherlands
  69. Pax Christi International
  70. Parliamentarians for Global Action 71. El Equipo Peruano de Antropología Forense, Peru
  71. Physicians for Human Rights, United States
  72. Pak Institute for Peace Studies, Pakistan
  73. REDRESS, United Kingdom
  74. Reporters without Borders, France
  75. Rencontre africaine pour la défense des droits de l’homme (Raddho-Guinée, Guinea)
  76. Reseau Equitas, Cote D’Ivoire
  77. Samir Kassir Foundation, Lebanon
  78. Southern Africa Litigation Centre, South Africa
  79. South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law, South Africa
  80. Syrian Network for Human Rights, United Kingdom
  81. Syria Justice & Accountability Center, The Netherlands
  82. Syrian Nonviolence Movement, France
  83. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, United Kingdom
  84. Synergie des ONGs Congolaises pour la lutte contre les Violences Sexuelles, Democratic Republic of Congo
  85. Synergie des ONGs Congolaises pour les Victimes, Democratic Republic of Congo
  86. The International Federation for Human Rights, France
  87. The Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law, Sierra Leone
  88. The Association of Political Scientists, Greece
  89. The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention, Canada
  90. The Igarape Institute, Brazil
  91. The Arab World Center for Democratic Development, Jordan
  92. The United Nations Association of Sweden, Sweden
  93. United to End Genocide, United States
  94. Vision GRAM-International, Canada 96. Violations Documentation Center, Syria
  95. Wake Up Genève for Syria, Switzerland
  96. West Africa Civil Society Institute, Ghana 99. West African Bar Association, Nigeria
  97. World Federalist Movement, Canada
  98. World Federation of United Nations Associations
  99. Zarga Organization for Rural Development, Sudan

More ways to take action

You can help prevent children like Maala being born with chronic illnesses by helping pregnant women stay healthy and nourished in the first place.

Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee during Refugee Week (June 2017). Raise money to support refugees who have lost everything, and challenge perspectives – including your own.

Right now, thousands of innocent people are fleeing Syria every day to protect their families from bloodshed, violence and death. We need your support to provide emergency relief packs to the families fleeing in Syria.